New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday 30 April addressed the inaugural session of the Joint Conference of Chief Ministers of States and Chief Justices of High Courts at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.
Chief Justice of India Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice UU Lalit of Supreme Court, Union Ministers Shri Kiren Rijiju and Prof S.P. Singh Baghel, Supreme Court Judges, Chief Justices of High Courts, Chief Ministers and LGs of states and Union Territories were among those present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said “in our country, while the role of the judiciary is that of the guardian of the constitution, the legislature represents the aspirations of the citizens. I believe that this confluence and balance of these two branches of the Constitution will prepare the roadmap for an effective and time bound judicial system in the country.” He said that 75 years of independence have continuously clarified the roles and responsibilities of both the judiciary and the executive. Wherever it is necessary, this relation has evolved continuously to give direction to the country, he said. Calling the Conference a vibrant manifestation of the beauty of the Constitution, the Prime Minister said that he has been coming to the conference for a very long time, first as Chief Minister and now as Prime Minister. ‘In a way, I am quite senior in terms of this Conference’ he said in a light-hearted manner.
Setting the tone for the conference, the Prime Minister said “In 2047, when the country will complete 100 years of its independence, then what kind of judicial system would we like to see in the country? How do we make our judicial system so capable that it can fulfil the aspirations of India of 2047, these questions should be our priority today”! “Our vision in Amrit Kaal should be of such a judicial system in which there is easy justice, speedy justice, and justice for all”, he added.
The Prime Minister emphasized that government is working hard to reduce delay in justice delivery and efforts are on for increasing judicial strength and improving judicial infrastructure. He said ICT has been deployed for case management and efforts to fill the vacancies at various levels of judiciary are underway.
The Prime Minister reiterated his vision of use of technology in governance in the context of judicial work. He said that the Government of India considers the possibilities of technology in the judicial system as an essential part of the Digital India mission. He appealed to the Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts to take this forward. The e-courts project is being implemented today in mission mode, he said. He gave example of success of digital transactions as they are becoming common in small towns and even in villages. Out of all the digital transactions that took place in the world last year, 40 percent of the digital transactions took place in India, the Prime Minister informed. Proceeding further on the theme of use of technology, the Prime Minister said that nowadays, subjects like block-chains, electronic discovery, cybersecurity, robotics, AI and bioethics are being taught in law universities in many countries. “It is our responsibility that in our country also legal education should be according to these international standards”, he said.
The Prime Minister said it is important to promote local languages in the courts so that people of the country feel connected with the judicial process and their faith in the same increases. He said that people’s right to judicial process will strengthen by this. He also said that local languages are being promoted in technical education also.
The Prime Minister also talked about the complexities and obsolescence in laws. He informed that in 2015, the government identified 1800 laws which had become irrelevant and 1450 laws have already been repealed. Noting that only 75 such laws have been removed by the states, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said “I would urge all the Chief Ministers that for the rights of the citizens of their state and for their ease of living, definitely steps should be taken in this direction.”
Prime Minister insisted that judicial reform is not merely a policy matter. Human sensitivities are involved and they should be kept in the centre of all the deliberations. Today, there are about 3.5 lakh prisoners in the country who are under-trial and are in jail. Most of these people are from poor or ordinary families, he pointed out. In every district there is a committee headed by the District Judge, so that these cases can be reviewed and
wherever possible, such prisoners may be released on bail. “I would appeal to all Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts to give priority to these matters on the basis of humanitarian sensibility and law”, he added.
The Prime Minister said mediation is also an important tool for settlement of pending cases in the courts especially at the local level. There is a thousands of years old tradition of settlement of disputes through mediation in our society. Mutual consent and mutual participation, in its own way, is a distinct human concept of justice, he said. With this thinking, said the Prime Minster, the government has introduced the Mediation Bill in the Parliament as an umbrella legislation. “With our rich legal expertise, we can become a global leader in the field of solution by mediation. We can present a model to the whole world”, he said.