PRIME MINISTER Narendra Modi on Monday pitched for an All India Judicial Service, linking it with the inclusion of Dalits and disadvantaged sections “in this system”. Meanwhile, Chief Justice of India T S Thakur, who shared the stage with Modi, called on the judiciary to “introspect about the public perception about our rectitude,” warning against “aberrations” that bring “disrepute to the entire institution”.
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“The All India Judicial Service has been a subject of discussion. There is controversy, but dialogue, controversy and communication (vaad, vivaad and samvad) are key components of democracy. Discussion and debate should take place,” said Modi, speaking at the Delhi High Court’s golden jubilee celebrations.
“Can the Dalits and exploited sections get a chance to join this (judiciary) system? Can any new system be evolved,” asked Modi. “The challenges are big, but running away from challenges does not work… We will have to do it together,” he said.
Calling for lessening the burden on the judiciary, he said the government is the “biggest litigant”. “The judiciary spends its maximum time on us. Us does not mean Modi, but the government,” he said, adding that the load can be reduced if cases are filed after taking a considered view.
On a lighter note, Modi asked those present to smile, reminding them that they were celebrating the golden jubilee of the Delhi High Court. “I never had the privilege to be in a court but I’m told the atmosphere there is serious. Its influence is seen here too. It’s the golden jubilee, smile a bit… I understand the seriousness on the dais so that no wrong perception is created. But here (among audience), I don’t think there is any problem,” he said.
Modi also called for effective legislation that leaves less room for interpretation and discrimination.
Addressing the function, CJI Thakur talked about the “tremendous pressure” on courts in view of the “avalanche of cases”, stressing that “access to justice should be a reality and it cannot be a reality if people have to wait for years and years for their cases to be decided”. The CJI said financial constraints cannot stand in the way of making access to justice a reality.
Turning the spotlight on the judiciary, the CJI said, “We also need to introspect about the public perception about our rectitude. It is painful sometime to see aberrations occurring at some level or the other, which bring disrepute to the entire institution. I think the Delhi High Court has achieved much, but in terms of ensuring that such incidents do not happen, there is much more to be done. I would only hope that brother judges at all levels take extra care not to give any room for any doubt about anything which is unreasonable and which is not in tune with judicial ethics and professional rectitude.”
While complimenting the Delhi High Court for its good work, the CJI said he hoped that the judges would continue to do their best “notwithstanding the difficulties that we are all aware of, notwithstanding the denial that you may be suffering, notwithstanding the criticism that may be heaped on you for many things that could have been done but have not been done.”