With the pendency of cases in various courts rising, Union Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday pitched for striking a balance to address the burden on judges as well as people’s struggle to get access to judiciary, and said “we cannot make judges work like machines”.
Rijiju said the pendency of cases in various courts is about to cross 4.8 crores.
He was speaking at the inaugural session of a Delhi University conclave — Indianisation of Legal System and Education. The two-day conclave has been organised jointly by the Faculty of Law and the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).
“On the one hand, we are talking about the modern legal system, which is based on accountability, transparency, and fairness and on the other hand, we are saying that the common people of our country are finding it more difficult in getting access to justice,” the minister said.
“When I took over as the minister for law and justice (in 2021), the pendency of cases in various courts in India was just over 4.2 crores and within a span of one year and three months, it is about to cross 4.8 crores,” he noted.
The minister emphasised the need to strike a balance as judges can’t be made to “work like machines”.
“On one hand how much our judges are enduring to dispose of the cases and on another side, how much common people are struggling to get access to justice,” he remarked.
Rijiju asserted: “We need to strike a balance. We cannot make judges work like a machine…From SC to lower court, each judge in India is handling 50-60 cases…. How can a judge deliver justice, if he has to dispose of 50-60 cases?”
The minister underlined the need to “assess” the country’s success on 75 years of its Independence.
“We are celebrating 75 years of India’s Independence – Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. It is the right time to assess ourselves. And I believe that when we would be celebrating the centenary of India’s Independence, we would discard many systems and would have adopted many new systems,” he said.
Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul of the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Delhi University Vice Chancellor Yogesh Singh attended the event.
Speaking at the event, Mehta pitched for a curriculum to study the “original Indian legal system” and how it developed into the system of today.
“Our Constitution starts in Article 1 itself with ‘India which is Bharat’. In our legal system as well as our Indian legal education system, what kind of India do we find and what part of Bharat do we find? The distinction is subtle. We generally do not find Bharat in our system,” he underscored.
“Can’t we have as a part of our curriculum the original Indian legal system and how it develops into the system we have today? I don’t think in India any university has this subject as part of their curriculum. We have a very rich heritage of our own — Indian legal heritage,” he added.
DU VC Singh said India has to come out of the colonial mindset and education will play a role in this.
“We have to come out of the colonial mindset. Education will and should play a role in this. And that is why the Indian government has introduced National Education Policy. We, at Delhi University, are implementing the NEP in letter and spirit,” he said.
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