Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on 17 September called for “Indianisation” of the country’s legal system. He said that the colonial rules currently followed might not be suited to the needs of the Indian population.
“Very often our justice delivery poses multiple barriers for the common people. The working and the style of courts do not sit well with the complexities of India. Our systems practise rules being colonial in origin may not be best suited to the needs of the Indian population. The need of the hour is the Indianisation of our legal system”, the CJI said while addressing an event organised by the Karnataka State Bar Council to pay tributes to late Supreme Court judge Justice Mohan Mohan Shantanagoudar.
The CJI explained: “When I say Indianisation, I mean the need to adapt to the practical realities of our society and localise our justice delivery systems. For example, parties from a rural place fighting a family dispute are usually made to feel out of place in the court. They do not understand the arguments or pleadings which are mostly in English, a language alien to them. These days, judgments have become lengthy, which further complicates the position of litigants. For the parties to understand the implications of a judgment, they are forced to spend more money” .
The CJI underscored his observation that courts should be litigant centric, as they are the ultimate beneficiaries.
“The simplification of justice delivery should be our pressing concern. It is crucial to make justice delivery more transparent, accessible and effective. Procedural barriers often undermine access to justice. The common man should not be apprehensive about approaching the courts and authorities. While approaching the court, he should not feel scared of the judges and the court. He should be able to speak the truth,” he said.
The CJI stated that it is the duty of lawyers and judges to create an environment that is comforting for the litigants and other stakeholders. “We must not forget that the focal point of any justice delivery system is ‘the litigant-the justice seeker’,” he said, adding that “in this light, usage of alternative dispute mechanisms such as mediation and conciliation would go a long way in reducing the friction between parties and would save resources. This also reduces the pendency and requirement for having lengthy arguments with lengthy judgments”.