BHUBANESWAR: Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Saturday called for drastic alteration to the legal framework to make the justice delivery mechanism people-friendly and suitable for the practical realities of Indian society.
“The legislature needs to revisit the laws and reform them to suit the needs of time and people,” he said after inaugurating the new building of the Odisha State Legal Services Authority (OSLSA) here. The constitutional aspirations will never be achieved until the most vulnerable section can enforce their rights, he said.
“I emphasise our laws must match with our practical realities. The executive has to match these efforts by way of simplifying the rules. Most importantly, the executive and the legislature should function in unison in realising the constitutional aspirations”, Chief Justice Ramana said.
“But the challenges of accessing justice gets magnified in States which pose significant hurdles like regional and economic disparity, particularly in the state of Odisha”, Chief Justice Ramana said. “As per the last census 83.3% of the people are living in the rural areas and are often excluded from the formal justice system,” he added.
The CJI said the Indian Judiciary System is faced with the twin challenges of the Indianisation of the judicial system and enabling people to decode the justice delivery system by raising awareness. Even after 74 years of independence, traditional and agrarian societies that have been following customary ways of life still feel hesitant to approach the courts. The practices, procedures, language, and everything of the courts feel alien to them.
“Between the complex language of the acts and process of justice delivery, the common man seems to lose control over the fate of his grievance. Often in his trajectory, the justice seeker
feels like an outsider to the system”, the CJI said.
While observing that the legal system often fails to take into consideration the social realities and implications, he said, “Our system is designed in such a way that by the time all the facts and law are churned in the court of law much gets lost in the process.”
“People might be bringing their problems to the courts, but what remains at the end of a day is yet another “case,”” CJI Ramana said adding, “unless the legal framework is drastically altered to make justice delivery mechanism people friendly, we will not be able to achieve the constitutional aspirations.”
The Legal Services Authorities have become an integral part of the judicial administration as they are dedicated to integrating and empowering the most vulnerable classes by providing them legal aid for the realisation of their rights and entitlements. “The legal services authorities have a great responsibility upon themselves to boost the mechanism such as Lok Adalat, mediation and conciliation so as to render justice which is more inclusive, participatory and definitely faster”, the CJI said.
Lack of proper infrastructure and funds results in the reduction of the activities carried out by these institutions. As a result, the number of beneficiaries who avail of services of these institutions reduce.
“If you want to retain the faith of our people, we need to strengthen not only judicial infrastructure but also need to boost our outreach programme as well”, the CJI said, adding, “Considering the gravity of the challenge we have decided to launch a countrywide robust legal awareness mission in the coming week.”
Chief Justice of Orissa High Court Justice S Muralidhar, also Patron-in-Chief of OSLSA delivered the welcome address Justice S K Mishra, Executive Chairman of OSLSA offered the vote of thanks.