February 21, 2021 1:27:32 am
Gujarat High Court judge Justice J B Pardiwala on Saturday said Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) should be treated as a supplement to the judiciary as the latter is exhausted owing to a “docket explosion”.
Highlighting that an overburdened judiciary only risked making it non-performing, Justice Pardiwala said, “Judiciary, as on date, can be said to be exhausted. It is exhausted because of enormous pressure of work but at the same time the judiciary cannot afford to be exhausted… When seminars are held, we always talk of independence of the judiciary. But when can a judiciary be said to be independent? Judiciary can be said to be independent when it is a performing judiciary. A non-performing judiciary cannot be said to be an independent judiciary and, therefore, we need to perform continuously. Judiciary is faced with a docket explosion.”
He was speaking at a seminar on ADR at the high court auditorium following the inauguration of the Gujarat High Court Arbitration Centre.
“The expectation of the people from the judiciary is to provide qualitative, responsive and timely justice,” Justice Pardiwala said.
Gujarat HC Chief Justice Vikram Nath said, “It should be assumed that there are many ways in which justice can be denied. The sufferers can be anybody, but in general the sufferers are those who are economically weak or legally illiterate or any religious minority or any marginalised section or a weaker sex.”
The Chief Justice also termed ADR as a “non-adversarial mechanism that is working together with the existing judicial system in order to resolve disputes”.
Emphasising on focusing towards changing mentalities so that the common man opts for ADR, instead of litigation by default, Justice Pardiwala added, “Dispute resolution is not an alternative to the existing judiciary system. On the other hand, ADR mechanism is supplemental to the existing judiciary system. Problem lies in the fact that the notion of ‘alternative’ is taken literally… In numerous instances, litigation is seen as the default mode, and turning to ADR only as a secondary option. Our efforts should be to change this mindset and unless the mindset is changed, all other efforts to promote ADR are likely to remain ineffective.”
Drawing parallels between medicine and judiciary, exemplifying how a sick person can opt for “allopathy, naturopathy, homeopathy” etc, as the preferred option of treatment, Supreme Court judge Justice M R Shah said, “Then why not in the judiciary system? Ultimate goal is justice for the common man.”
The apex court judge recommended that maximum legal camps must be organised by the state legal services authority with the motto “ab nyayalay, chaupalay pe jaayega”.
“Unless you reach out to the grassroots level, to the taluka level, you will not be in a substantial position to do justice to the common man,” Justice Shah said.
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