Addressing the International Judicial Conference at the Supreme Court, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Saturday said governance must be left to the elected representatives and delivering judgments should be left to the judges. Ravi Shankar Prasad referred to apex court judgments and said terrorists and corrupt people have “no right to privacy” and such persons should not be allowed to abuse the system.
The union minister added that populism should not infringe upon the settled principles of law.
While inaugurating the conference at the Supreme Court, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the changes in the system should be rational and as per law. The prime minister hailed the top court for redefining environmental jurisprudence and added that the judiciary has struck balance between development and environment. Modi added that no country can achieve complete development without ensuring gender justice.
He referred to laws on transgenders, ‘triple talaq’ and on the rights of ‘Divyang’ (persons with disabilities) and said the government has also taken steps to give rights to women in military services and in providing paid maternity leave for 26 weeks to women.
While referring to recent Supreme Court verdicts, PM Modi said they have been accepted wholeheartedly by 1.3 billion Indians. He said it is going to be a decade of remarkable changes across the world which will impact all frontiers, be it society, economy, or technology, and these changes need to be rational as well as just and fair.
Talking about the contribution of Mahatma Gandhi, the Prime Minister said, “Gandhiji’s life was dedicated to the cause of truth and service, which are the foundational tenets for any system of justice and as you all know, he was himself a barrister and belonged to the fraternity of lawyers”.
Hailing a vibrant judiciary, legislature and executive, the PM said, “Respecting each other’s jurisdiction and dignity, these three pillars of the Constitution have resolved various challenges faced by the country on several occasions.
“We are proud of having developed such a rich tradition in India. In the last five years, various institutions of India have further strengthened this tradition”.
He also referred to the Centre’s endeavour in repealing 1,500 archaic laws and said, “Speed has been demonstrated not only in doing away with irrelevant laws but also in enacting new legislations aimed at strengthening the social fabric”.
The Indian Constitution guarantees gender justice under the provisions of the right to equality, Modi said, adding that India is “among few nations which has ensured the right to vote for women since independence”.
He also referred to his government’s flagship programme ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ to stress the steps taken by it to empower women. “Similarly, the government has brought about many changes, whether it be the appointment of women in military service or in the selection process of fighter pilots or regarding their freedom to work in the mines at night,” he said.
He referred to India’s economic growth and said that five-six years ago, India was the 11th largest economy of the world. “According to a report which appeared just 3-4 days ago, today India is the fifth largest economy of the world. Thus, India has shown that infrastructure development can happen simultaneously with the protection of environment,” he said.
Talking about the use of technology, Modi said it can help in the procedural management of courts and benefit the justice delivery system to a large extent. “Issues like data protection, cybercrime poses new challenges for the judiciary and artificial intelligence will help in dealing with them,” said PM Modi at the International Judicial Conference.
Speaking at the occasion, Chief Justice of India S A Bobde said India is a “melting pot of cultures” and has assimilated cultures of Mughals, Dutch, Portuguese and English. CJI S A Bobde recalled Mahatma Gandhi’s words that if everyone performs their duty, their rights are taken care of. “At the heart of the Indian Constitution was the individual and the rights of the individual were recognised”, Bobde added.
CJI S A Bobde further said that the Constitution has created a strong and independent judiciary and “we have strived to keep this basic feature intact”.
(With inputs from PTI)
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