As the number of cases pending in various courts increases, Union Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday proposed striking a balance to reduce the burden on judges as well as people’s struggle to access to justice, and said “we can’t make judges work like Machines”.
Mr. Rijiju said the pending of cases in various courts is about to cross 4.8 crores.
He was speaking at the inaugural session of a Delhi University Conclave – Indianization of the Legal System and Education. The two-day conclave was co-hosted by the School 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 ordinary people in our country find it more difficult to access justice” , said the minister.
“When I took office as Minister of Law and Justice (in 2021), the pending of cases in various courts in India was just over 4.2 crores and within a span of a year and three months, it is about to cross 4.8 crores,” he noted.
The Minister stressed the need to strike a balance as judges cannot be made to “work like machines”.
“On the one hand, how much our judges endure to decide the cases and on the other hand, how many ordinary people struggle to access justice,” he remarked.
Mr. Rijiju asserted, “We have to strike a balance. We cannot make judges work like a machine… From SC to lower court, each judge in India handles 50 to 60 cases… How can a judge he will do justice, if he has to dispose of 50 to 60 cases?” The minister stressed the need to “take stock” of the country’s success over the 75 years of its independence.
“We are celebrating 75 years of Independence of India – Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav. This is a good time to assess ourselves. And I believe that when we celebrate 100 years of Independence of India, we would give up many systems and would adopt many new systems,” he said.
Supreme Court Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Delhi University Vice Chancellor Yogesh Singh attended the event.
Speaking at the event, Mr Mehta proposed a program to study the “original Indian legal system” and how it evolved into today’s system.
“Our Constitution begins in Article 1 itself with ‘India which is Bharat’. In our legal system as well as in our Indian legal education system, what kind of India do we find and what part of Bharat we find? The distinction is subtle. We usually don’t find Bharat in our system,” he pointed out.
“Can’t we include in our curriculum the original Indian legal system and how it develops into the system we have today? I don’t think any university in India doesn’t have this subject in their program. We have a very rich heritage — Indian legal heritage,” he added.
DU VC Singh said that India needs to get out of colonial mentality and education will play a part in this.
“We have to get out of the colonial mentality. Education will and should play a role in this. And that is why the Government of India has introduced a national education policy. We at Delhi University are putting in place implement the NEP in letter and spirit,” he said.