Cost top most hurdle in improving access to justice for all: Prez

New Delhi, Nov 26: Cost is the “top most” hurdle in improving “access to justice for all”, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Thursday even as he commended the judiciary and the bar for not letting the coronavirus pandemic come in the way of fulfilling the duty of securing justice for the citizens.
Speaking at the Constitution Day celebrations organised by the Supreme Court, Kovind said he was happy to see that the apex court has continued to function and dispense justice amid the pandemic, using technological solutions like video-conferencing and e-filing. He said he was also pleased that the higher judiciary was making available verdicts in more regional languages.
“I am pleased that the higher judiciary has started making available its judgments in more and more regional languages. This is surely the best way to keep more and more citizens in the loop, and thus bringing the institution of judiciary closer to the citizenry at large,” Kovind said on 71st anniversary of the adoption of the Constitution. Law, IT and Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad congratulated the judiciary for rising to the occasion and continuing its work despite great inhibiting circumstances during the pandemic. He expressed unhappiness over unleashing of criticism of the apex court for its judicial functions and asked the people not to use expressions like “judicial barbarism” in criticising judgements or orders. “Of late there has been a disturbing trend. Some people have a view as to how on a particular case filed the judgment should be.
Then there are narratives in newspapers and campaign in social media as to what kind of judgement should have come..,” Prasad said. Chief Justice S A Bobde said the judiciary has worked hard through the pandemic and its commitment to ensuring that access of justice is maintained to all the citizens.
The Indian Supreme Court has fared far better than to courts of other countries, he said. Attorney General K K Venugopal suggested that there should be four intermediate courts of appeal with 15 judges each in the four corners of the country for ensuring access to justice by all. Kovind further said the country is blessed in having the founding document drafted by the great visionary leaders of freedom movement. “To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln I can say with conviction that this document, a creation of Indian genius and ingenuity, too shall not perish from earth, as citizens continue to repose faith in it,” he said. Kovind said the Preamble speaks of the resolve to secure for all its citizens social, economic and political justice.
“Improving access to justice for all is, of course, a work in progress. It is bound to be by its very nature. The hurdles in the way are many, the cost being the top most among them. In that regard, I have spoken before of my passion for pro-bono service. I am glad that I had the opportunity to provide free counsel to the needy when I was a practising advocate.
“Another hurdle has been the language, and on this count I am pleased that the higher judiciary has started making available its judgments in more and more regional languages,” he said. Kovind said technology is emerging as the foremost solution as we grapple with restrictions the coronavirus pandemic has imposed on us. “I am happy to see that the Supreme Court has continued to function and dispense justice amid the pandemic, using technological solutions like video-conferencing and e-filing”. (PTI)

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