The hallmark of great judges and institutions is that they are keener on justice than on law, Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde said in Tripura Wednesday.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of an e-Sewa Kendra at the High Court of Tripura, CJI Bobde, said while taking the decision to go electronic in the justice delivery system, he was ‘acutely conscious’ that it would make justice ‘technology-dependent’. However, he said, the other option meant was to shut down courts completely during the pandemic, which was an impossibility, especially for the High Courts and the Supreme Court of India.
While admitting that e-courts have made access to justice dependent on technology, possession of which varies on an individual’s personal resources, the CJI said e-Sewa Kendras can fill this gap.
e-Seva Kendras are supposed to serve as a one-stop centre for the needs of the common litigant. These kendras are envisaged to be located at the public entry gate in courts and other legal institutions to make them accessible.
“There was an old saying about legal aid in England, and things can’t be like that. The saying was that access to justice is like the rich hotel; it’s open to all. It is this meaninglessness of such words which the e-kendra seeks to eliminate,” the CJI said.
Citing Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple, the Chief Justice of India said while visiting lawyers in courts, Temple opened his discourse by saying, “I can’t say I know much about the law, having been far more invested in justice”. The CJI appealed to judges to be similarly more driven towards justice.
He praised Tripura for its role in accommodating people fleeing atrocities in East Pakistan in 1971, hosting Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, giving the nation talented musicians like Kumar Sachin Dev Burman and Rahul Dev Burman, and said Tripura’s history, despite its lack of resources, shows that resources are a secondary part in human life.
Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court Akil Kureshi, Justice Subhashish Talapatra, Justice SG Chattopadhyay, Lokayukta of Odisha Justice Ajit Singh, Chief Secretary Manoj Kumar, Director General of Police VS Yadav and others were in attendance at the event.
e-Sewa Kendras were conceived by the Supreme Court under its project on e-courts to ensure access of justice to all.
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