Adequate judicial infra important for actualising right to access to justice: CJI | India News – Times of India

 Adequate judicial infra important for actualising right to access to justice: CJI | India News - Times of India

2022-12-06 21:38:07

NEW DELHI: Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud on Tuesday said “India also survives much beyond” the national capital and there is need to focus on district judiciary as the country “goes forward”.
He said an important component of actualising the right to access to justice is ensuring that there is adequate judicial infrastructure which shall begin from the district judiciary.
Addressing a gathering at the inauguration function of Delhi high court‘s ‘S’ block building, the CJI said he always believes that “much as we would like to have the best infrastructure in the capital city. I think India also survives much beyond the capital. It is there (district judiciary) that we need to focus our attention as we go forward”.
He said the court complexes built during the colonial times were used to create an imposing effect over the public, restricting the access to an exclusive few.
“The architecture of our buildings was intended to produce a sense of fear and awe in the consumers of justice and the divide between those who dispensed justice and those to whom justice was delivered,” he said.
The CJI added that the understanding of justice has now drastically changed and efforts are now concentrated on reaching out to people as opposed to people reaching out to us.
“In all the work that we do as judges and lawyers, judicial spaces are considered to be public or civic spaces and thus spaces which should be universally accessible. The symbolism of court complexes helps in materialising justice, making it tangible and corporeal for citizens who come from far and wide. The court room, whether physical or virtual, provides a setting where the search for justice takes place for the citizens,” he said.
While inaugurating the state-of-art building, Justice Chandrachud said this building combines the modern with the democratic and the Delhi high court itself is a whiff of fresh air in the state corridors of jurisprudence.
“It is a court of equity and it is a court for relief for citizens even in the most difficult of times and it is in that context that I viewed what the architect said of the three basic parameters which guided this building in its design — contextual architecture, climate change resilience and demographic architecture.
“Perhaps we can transplant those concepts to the soil of jurisprudence. How jurisprudence has to be contextual, contextual to be able to meet the challenges of the time. Resilience in the face of climate change, climate change both physically and metaphorically,” he said.
The constitutionally recognised right to access to justice which is embodied in Articles 14, 21 and 39A breathes life into principle of rule of law and fairness, equality, efficiency and impartiality are inherent in the understanding of access to justice, the CJI said.
He emphasised that the judicial system and courtrooms must be democratic, inclusive and equally accessible and their design must accommodate people from diverse backgrounds, ensuring meaningful participation.
“On the 25th and 26th of November we celebrated Constitution Day by deliberating and discussing different mechanism and how to enhance the justice delivery system. While issues faced by each high court differ, there was a consensus that we must create a multitude of equitable ways for different groups, women, Dalits, the marginalised groups, the LGBTQ+ community, persons with disabilities, the elderly and the poor to engage and participate in the process of adjudication in a meaningful way,” Justice Chandrachud said.
He further said to make sure that equal access to justice is being provided, attention must be paid to the design and administration of the judicial set up.
“An important component of actualising the right to access to justice is ensuring that we have adequate judicial infrastructure, including physical and digital infrastructure and personnel strength,” he said.
He added, “And where best to begin? I think we have to begin at the grassroots where our district judiciary is situated.”
“Because it is really our district judiciary which has the immediate impact on the lives of common citizens, where people in distress come as a point of first contact seeking solutions to their problems of daily lives and I think that is where we are really 70 years down the line deeply and deeply in want because if we contemplate buildings where an accused is led into dungeon waiting the whole day with no toilet facilities I think that really is the true face of the district judiciary which we need to resolve,” he said.
The CJI said one of the goals of the e-courts project is to provide qualitative and speedy justice through efficient court management and a positive correlation between judicial infrastructure and quality and speed dispensation of justice has long been established.
The national mission of justice delivery and legal reforms states that adequate judicial infrastructure is a pre condition for reducing delays, he said.
He further said that the increasing judicial work in the Delhi High Court put pressure on the already hard pressured existing infrastructure, leading to the requirement to construct additional buildings in the form of ‘C’ block and ‘S’ block.
The magnificent building of ‘S’ block will have over 200 lawyers chambers, a judicial convention centre and an auditorium, a space for Delhi International Arbitration Centre, space for administration offices and parking facility, common meeting rooms, cafeteria and green spaces.
The belief held by common citizens that if they approach the Delhi High Court they will secure justice is a testament to this institution’s commitment to the constitutional goals of justice to remain fair, access, affordable and quick, the CJI said.
Besides the CJI, several other Supreme Court judges, including Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Delhi High Court Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma, other judges of the high court, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri, Delhi Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal were also present in the function.

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