kiren rijiju: People need a uniform civil code: Minister of Law Kiren Rijiju | India News

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Justice Ministry Kiren Rijijuin an exclusive interview tells YOU’s Pradeep Thakurthat the country “needs” a uniform civil code and asserts that the government has “never” abused sedition laws. He also talks about NextGen reforms in the justice system. Excerpts from the interview:
Many BJP States have launched the process of implementing the Uniform Civil Code (UDC)?
This is part of the BJP poll manifesto. I think the locals need it. One nation, one law, it’s good for the country.
So why is the Center not taking the lead in introducing enabling legislation?
I won’t comment on that, but I want to say that the country needs it. The people of the country believe that in order to have a semblance of equality, equity and a composite nationality, it is better to have one nation, one law. I think that’s the right philosophy for every country. I don’t want to say when, but the people of this country want UCC.
Have any states approached the Center for advice on UCC legislation in their province?
If a state requests assistance from the Department of Justice, we will certainly provide all the support and expertise available to us. I cannot say whether a State has approached us or not, but we are ready to provide any assistance.
Questions have been raised about the misuse of sedition laws, your view?
On the government side, there has been no abuse of this law. Our position is very clear: the provisions of the Constitution or any law are invoked appropriately in accordance with the requirements of the law. There was no abuse by our government. If the court interprets it in a different way, I can’t question that, but on the government side, there was no “blindness” or “abuse” of the provision of the law. It does not happen and it will not happen.
Do you think some states are abusing the provisions of sedition laws?
There are cases where the case is challenged in the courts and the dismissal of the cases, government actions overturned by the courts. These things happen. According to court decisions, if a government action has been reversed or reversed, this is understood. But as far as the central government is concerned, I can assure you that we are not abusing any law. There have been no instances where we have invoked this law (sedition) unnecessarily. If you look at some of the cases in the past, the government only took action when it was discovered that someone had acted against the interest of the state. For us, the national interest is paramount. You can criticize the government, you can criticize its members, but why target the state? The national interest must take precedence over all others. Our actions flow from our objective to protect the national interest.
Aren’t sedition laws supposed to be invoked only when someone incites violence against the state?
The government of India works for the national interest. By defaming the government, you defame the state and are ready to take action. For example, by targeting the army chief, you are not targeting him as a person, but as an institution. I want to make it very clear that one can criticize the actions of the government and its members, but anything that is contemptuous of the state is not acceptable.
What have been the main achievements of your government over the past 8 years?
A digital ecosystem has been created for the next-generation justice system in India, where each court is connected via broadband, having a video conferencing facility that helps judges hold court proceedings online. The e-Courts Phase II projects have achieved their objectives. Digitization has made it possible to connect courtrooms to prisons. Virtual courts have become a reality and thousands of traffic violation cases have been resolved without citizens needing to go to a physical courtroom.
Since May 2014, my government has put in place a host of initiatives ensuring both the ease of living and the ease of doing business. At least 722 fast-track courts have been made operational, including 406 Pocso courts, resulting in the resolution of over 87,000 pending rape and Pocso law cases. An ecosystem has been created to make India an arbitration hub. To facilitate business and resolve disputes more quickly, specialized commercial courts have been created at the district level. The judicial infrastructure has been modernized on a large scale, providing hundreds of new courtrooms and accommodation for judges.
But business pending crossed 4.7 crores?
The pandemic has been one of the main disruptors. Yet, we have managed to run our courts successfully through our digitization efforts with electronic filing and payment facilities. Summonses are issued digitally and judgments are available online. We have expedited appointments. Over the past eight years, 46 judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court and 743 to the high courts. Around 200 new posts have been created in the 25 High Courts, increasing the number of sanctioned judges from 984 in 2014 to 1,104 today.
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