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Change in thinking can boost people’s faith in judiciary: Ram Nath Kovind

Though citizens have expectations from the judiciary, many hesitate in taking the help of courts, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Saturday, adding that this situation needs to change to improve confidence.

Speaking at a function to lay the foundation stone for the Uttar Pradesh National Law University in Prayagraj, a multilevel parking lot and advocates’ chambers at the Allahabad High Court, Kovid called for increasing participation of women in the justice system. Chief Justice of India Justice NV Ramana and Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju were other dignitaries who attended the programme.

The President added that efforts should also be made to make the justice system less expensive and more accessible to all. A portrait of senior advocate, late Anand Bhushan Sharan, was also unveiled by the dignitaries.

“Everybody has expectations from the judiciary. However, there are people who are hesitant in taking the help of courts for justice. To strengthen citizens’ faith in the judiciary, this situation has to change. People should get justice on time, the process of getting justice should be less expensive. There should be a system of pronouncing decisions in languages understood by common people and women, as well as the weaker sections… All these can happen only when all the stakeholders in the judiciary bring necessary changes to their thinking and work culture. They also need to be more sensitive,” Kovind said.

Pointing out that only 12 percent of the judges in the Supreme Court and high courts are women, he said, “If we want to achieve the inclusive ideals of our Constitution, the number of women has to increase in the judiciary.”

“Last month, a historic decision was taken to ensure involvement of more women in the judiciary. I gave my nod to the appointment of nine judges, including three women, to the Supreme Court. Of the 33 judges in the Supreme Court, four are now women, which is the highest so far. The appointments have also paved the way for a woman Chief Justice of India in the future. A truly just system can only be established when, like most other fields, the judiciary, too, has more involvement of women,” Kovind said, adding that women have a better temperament for dispensing justice.

“Ensuring the basic right of ‘access to justice’ defines the success of all bodies of the government, mainly the judiciary. It is the need of our time that we keep trying on several fronts – from clearing pending cases, increasing the faith of people in the judiciary to making the subordinate judiciary more able,” he said.

Also suggesting that the judiciary could be strengthened through provision of adequate facilities to the subordinate judiciary, increasing the number of working judges and providing resources as per the budget, President Kovind said he was hopeful the largest high court in the country, with help from the state government, will set new examples for other offices of justice to emulate.

Speaking at the event, Rijiju said the law university is likely to start its session 2022-23 with 80 students. “Once completed, the university will have facilities to accommodate 180 graduate and 80 postgraduate students every year. It will also have facilities for high-level legal research. Residential facilities, along with state-of-the-art library, sports and gymnasium facilities, will also be there,” the Union Law minister said, voicing happiness over the plans of the state government to make the university a centre of excellence.

Rijiju said his ministry wants to work with close coordination with the law universities, colleges and academies in the country.

“We want the judiciary strengthened and will take every step in that regard,” he said, adding that the Centre has planned to bring a Mediation Bill in the upcoming Winter Session of the Parliament.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said the Allahabad High Court is the largest of its kind in Asia, dispensing justice to 24 crore people of the state. Claiming that the previous government did not even think of fulfilling the public demand for a parking lot on the court premises and a law university, he said people have waited too long to get the foundation stone laid for these projects.

“We are in the digital age and have all realised its importance during the Covid-19 pandemic. Our government has sanctioned Rs 70 crore for the digitization of subordinate courts, Rs 30 crore for purchase of computers for the high court, Rs 20 crore for computers in subordinate courts and Rs 18 crore for new laptops for judicial officers,” the CM said, informing that the new complex of the Allahabad High Court will have a multi-level parking facility that can accommodate over 4,000 vehicles, about 2,600 chambers for lawyers and a state-of-the-art library.


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