Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said that the 75 years of independence have continuously clarified the roles and responsibilities of both the judiciary and the executive.
New Delhi: Stressing that the country should think what kind of judiciary it wants during the 100th year of India’s independence, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday addressed the Joint Conference of Chief Ministers of States and Chief Justices of High Courts at the Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.
Setting the tone for the conference, the Prime Minister said, “In 2047, when the country will complete 100 years of its independence, then what kind of judicial system would we like to see in the country? How do we make our judicial system so capable that it can fulfil the aspirations of India of 2047, these questions should be our priority today. Our vision in the Amrit Kaal should be of such a judicial system in which there is easy justice, speedy justice, and justice for all,” he added.
Chief Justice of India Justice N V Ramana, Justice U U Lalit of Supreme Court, Union ministers Kiren Rijiju and Prof S P Singh Baghel, Supreme Court judges, Chief Justices of High Courts, Chief Ministers and LGs of states and Union Territories were among those present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Modi said, “In our country, while the role of the judiciary is that of the guardian of the Constitution, the legislature represents the aspirations of the citizens. I believe that this confluence and balance of these two branches of the Constitution will prepare the roadmap for an effective and time bound judicial system in the country.”
He said that the 75 years of independence have continuously clarified the roles and responsibilities of both the judiciary and the executive. “Wherever it is necessary, this relation has evolved continuously to give direction to the country,” he said. Calling the conference a vibrant manifestation of the beauty of the Constitution, the Prime Minister said that he has been coming to the conference for a very long time, first as a Chief Minister and now as the Prime Minister. “In a way, I am quite senior in terms of this Conference,” he said in a light-hearted manner.
The Prime Minister also emphasised that the government is working hard to reduce the delay in justice delivery and efforts are on for increasing judicial strength and improving judicial infrastructure. He said ICT has been deployed for case management and efforts to fill the vacancies at various levels of judiciary are underway.
The Prime Minister reiterated his vision of use of technology in governance in the context of judicial work. He said that the Government of India considers the possibilities of technology in the judicial system as an essential part of the Digital India mission. He appealed to the Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts to take this forward. The e-courts project is being implemented today in mission mode, he said.
He cited the example of the success of digital transections as they are becoming common in small towns and even in villages. Out of all the digital transactions that took place in the world last year, 40 per cent took place in India, the Prime Minister said.
Proceeding further on the theme of use of technology, Modi said, “Nowadays, subjects like block-chains, electronic discovery, cybersecurity, robotics, AI and bioethics are being taught in law universities in many countries. It is our responsibility that in our country also legal education should be according to these international standards,” he said.
The Prime Minister also talked about the complexities and obsolescence in laws. He informed that in 2015, the government identified 1,800 laws which had become irrelevant and 1,450 laws have already been repealed. Noting that only 75 such laws have been removed by the states, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “I would urge all the Chief Ministers that for the rights of the citizens of their state and for their ease of living, definite steps should be taken in this direction.”
Modi insisted that judicial reform is not merely a policy matter. Human sensitivities are involved and they should be kept in the centre of all the deliberations. “Today, there are about 3.5 lakh prisoners in the country who are undertrial and are in jail. Most of these people are from poor or ordinary families, he pointed out. In every district there is a committee headed by the District Judge, so that these cases can be reviewed and wherever possible, such prisoners may be released on bail. I would appeal to all Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts to give priority to these matters on the basis of humanitarian sensibility and law,” he added.