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Monday, October 2, 2023

Discuss, debate, decide: CJI


Chief Justice N V Ramana on Saturday expressed his wish to see the country move forward better through discussion and debate as he noted that Parliament was unable to function in the first two weeks of the Monsoon Session.

Addressing the first District Legal Services Authorities meet here, Ramana said: “I fear, we may be unable to fulfill our constitutional mandate of social justice. I urge you, therefore, to discuss, debate and decide. This is the principle I have been following all through.”

He said if the judiciary has reached people’s doorstep and earned their trust, “the acclaim goes to the cooperative functioning between the forward-looking judges, spirited advocates and volunteers and governments”.

Ramana: “Wherever I go, I always attempt to project the achievements of the Indian judiciary in winning the trust and faith of the people. But if we intend to serve the people better, we need to flag the issues which hinder our functioning.”

He went on: “There is no meaning in camouflaging or hiding the problems. If we don’t discuss these

issues, if matters of pressing concern are not addressed, then the system will cripple.

“The governments also have been active partners in the ‘access to justice’ project.

“The purpose behind organizing this conference is to introspect about various factors governing the administration of justice and to discover ways and means to bring qualitative improvement in the system.

“The District Judiciary is the backbone of the justice delivery system in the world’s largest democracy. The District Judicial officers are the first point of contact for much of the population.

“Public opinion about the judiciary is primarily based on their experiences with the district judiciary. This casts a great responsibility on your shoulders. You must undertake multifaceted tasks and roles. You are best placed to understand people’s problems.

“Every progressive policy must find its basis on a strong foundation. Strengthening the District Judiciary is the need of the hour. Without any doubt, the District Judiciary is the driving force behind the legal aid movement in India.”

Ramana said that the majority of the people suffer in silence, lacking awareness and necessary means. “Modern India was built around the goal of removing the disparities in the society. Project democracy is about providing a space for participation of all.”

The Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 was enacted with the objective of reaching the persons at the bottom of the pyramid.

Ramana: “The fact that it is aimed at offering free legal aid to 70 per cent of our population makes NALSA the largest legal aid provider in the world.”

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