February 7, 2021 4:10:28 am
Describing the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary and the roles assigned to them as the life force of the Indian Constitution, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Saturday that every citizen can now say with satisfaction that the judiciary has fulfilled its duty of safeguarding the life force.
Addressing an event to mark 60 years of the Gujarat High Court — he also released via video link a commemorative postage stamp on the occasion — the Prime Minister said the judiciary has always strengthened the Constitution by interpreting it “creatively and positively”.
“Be it the protection of citizen rights, the question of personal freedom or situations where national interest has to be given utmost priority, the judiciary has both understood and fulfilled its responsibilities,” he said.
“You all know very well that in Indian society, the rule of law has for centuries been the basis of our civilizational, social and cultural fabric.” He said ancient Indian texts too underline that the roots of good governance are in justice and the rule of law. “This idea has been part of our tradition from time immemorial, and it infused moral courage in our freedom struggle. This was kept supreme by the makers of the Indian Constitution, and the Preamble of the Constitution is a manifestation of this pledge. It is a matter of great pride for every citizen that our judiciary has always given energy and direction to this sentiment of our Constitution and principles,” he said.
“This faith in our judiciary has given rise to self-confidence in the minds of the common people, given them the strength to stand up for truth,” he said.
Modi praised the role of the Bar in meeting the fundamental goals of justice. He said it is the responsibility of both the executive and judiciary to establish a “world-class justice system” that guarantees timely justice to the person at the lowest rung of society. “Today, like the judiciary, the government too is making sustained efforts in this direction to fulfil its duties,” he said.
Recalling the dedication of the judiciary during the difficult days of the pandemic, he said the Gujarat High Court showed its adaptive capability by starting hearings early via video conferencing, SMS call-out, e-filing of cases and ‘Email my case status’. It also started streaming its display board on YouTube and uploaded its judgments and orders on the website.
He said he had been told that during this period, the Gujarat High Court became the first court to stream the court proceedings live. The digital infrastructure put in place by the Law Ministry’s e-Courts Integrated Mission Mode Project, he said, had been adopted quickly by the courts, allowing them to function as virtual courts.
More than 18,000 courts, Modi said, have been computerised and there is new momentum in e-proceedings in courts with the Supreme Court giving legal sanctity to tele-conferencing and video conferencing. “It gives us great pride to know that our Supreme Court has held the largest number of hearings via video conferencing among all Supreme Courts in the world,” he said.
He said e-filing of cases added a new dimension to the “ease of justice” which while “not only enhancing the ease of living for our citizens” also “increased the ease of doing business in the country. It has given foreign investors the confidence that their rights will be protected in India.”
Use of artificial intelligence is being explored to make our justice system future-ready, he said, adding that it will increase efficiency and speed of the judiciary.
“In these efforts, the county’s Atmanirbhar Abhiyan will play a big role. It is under the ambit of Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan that Indian video conference platforms are also being encouraged. To reduce the digital divide in the country, e-seva kendras are being opened in high courts and district courts,” he said.
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