HE Chief Justice of India(CJI) N.V. Ramana Saturday called for the “Indianisation” of the country’s legal system, stating that it needed to be adapted to society’s practical realities.
“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,” the CJI said on Saturday at an event organised by the Karnataka State Bar Council in honour of the late Justice M.M. Shantanagouder, who passed away earlier this year.
The CJI clarified that by Indianisation, he meant the localization of the justice delivery system.
For example, he said, 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”.
Courts needed to be litigant-centric, he said, asserting that the simplification of justice delivery should be the pressing concern. “It is crucial to make justice delivery more transparent, accessible and effective. Procedural barriers often undermine access to justice”, he said.
The common man should not be apprehensive about approaching courts and authorities, he said. They should not feel scared of judges and courts; they should be able to speak the truth.
The CJI said it was the duty of lawyers and judges to create an environment which was “comforting” for litigants and other stakeholders. “We must not forget that the focal point of any justice delivery system is “the litigant – the justice seeker”.
Justice Shantanagoundar, the Chief Justice said, was a common man’s judge. “His judgments provide a deep insight into his years of experience, his depth of knowledge and his unending wisdom.
“But more than anything, his judgments showed simplicity, abundant common sense, and a practical approach. His tenure as a Judge was marked by his concern for social equality, opportunity to all, and rights and liberties of the people”, CJI Ramana said.