Sun, 03 Dec 2023

New Delhi [India], November 26 (ANI): Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud on Saturday said that an institution thrives with time only when it functions democratically.

Speaking at the Constitution Day celebrations held at the Supreme Court, CJI said the Constitution enstrusts the legislature, executive, and judiciary to bridge the gap between institutional ideas and social realities.

He said that the representation of the marginalised communities must be enhanced in the legal profession.

"An institution thrives with time only when it functions democratically. I believe as Chief Justice of India, it is my responsibility to consult judges in the Supreme Court, High Courts and district judiciary," said CJI.

He said that lawyers and judges spend their time and years, unravelling the text of the Constitution, but the story of the Indian constitution is not a story only of legal text and legal interpretation.

"It is a story of human struggles and sacrifices. It is a story of undoing injustice against the marginalised sections of our society. The women, the disabled, the Dalits and the members belonging to tribes and segments situated in far-flung areas of the country. It must be remembered that the marginalised communities were the first to plant the seeds of the Constitutional ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity, on Indian soil," said the CJI.

CJI further said that the first wave of resistance against the colonial power came from the indigenous communities of India.

Our constitution is a social contract entered into between those who are in power historically and those who are oppressed and sought to change the power hegemony and chose to govern themselves, said the CJI.

Justice Chandrachud said India's liberation from colonial rule and the drafting of the Constitution were simultaneous projects.

"The prolonged struggle for independence culminated with the demise of the colonial rule, and the birth of an independent nation governed by self-rule. However, the death of the colonial regime was not accompanied by a simultaneous birth of Constitutional values that we hold on to so dearly. When India gained her independence, she was invested in social evils," CJI further said.

He further said that scholars have documented the refusal of colonial courts to interfere in cases involving socio-religious customs even if marginalised communities' rights were in question. This was changed after the Constitution, he added.

The Constitution of India is to a large extent aspirational for it seeks to deliver political freedoms and civil rights attempting to shred colonial baggage, CJI said.

CJI said that in a nation as large diverse and graded as ours, the paramount challenge of the judiciary as an institution faces is to ensure that the justice delivery system is accessible to everyone and these challenges require dedicated actions.

We have been adopting technology to improve the working of courts, said the CJI adding that "it is of supreme importance and necessity that the courts are remodelled to reach out to the people instead of the people reaching out to the court in their quest for justice".

To ensure that the courts reach out to the people it is essential that the litigation process is simplified and made citizen-centric, he said while stressing that the judiciary is engaged with technology.

He said during the Covid-19 pandemic technology gained prevalence and it has to be ensured that the technological infrastructure on which public funds have been spent is not dismantled, but strengthened further.

The Supreme Court now functions in a hybrid mode with both online and offline courts, which enable lawyers and parties-in-person to appear from different parts of the country, said the CJI.

Though the Supreme Court is located on Tilak Marg, the Supreme Court is Supreme Court for the entire nation, he added.

As the Chief Justice, CJI Chandrachud said, I am attempting to adopt technology-based services in the listing of cases and court hearings, so that institutional flaws such as delays and listing and hearing can be removed from our vocabularies.

The Supreme Court of India uses technology to make the justice delivery system more accessible and citizen-centric, he further said.

"While technology has ably aided us in ensuring the functionality of the Judiciary during the pandemic. Technology must be augmented with institutional reforms to resolve the chief issues of access to justice. The first interface of the people with the judicial system is the district judiciary. It is thus of paramount importance that the district judiciary is strengthened and supported," CJI said.

He appealed to the young people to reflect on the social realities of India and work towards achieving fraternity by dedicating themselves to the cause of justice in whatever way possible.

"Sometimes change happens by small acts of kindness. The heart and the soul of law as it is administered in courts is our sense of compassion to our citizens," said CJI Chandrachud while concluding his speech.

Attorney General for India R Venkataramani also speaking at the event, emphasised the importance of the government not overloading the Supreme Court with endless statutory appeals.

He said the conversion of the Supreme Court into a small cause court must stop. AG said, "It is important that the government stops overloading the Supreme Court with endless statutory appeals alongside the seamless and huge flow of cases from High Courts. The conversion of Supreme Court into a small causal court must stop." (ANI)

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