New Delhi [India], November 26 (ANI): Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Friday highlighted the issue of "motivated and synchronized" attacks on the judiciary including on social media and said governments are expected to create a secure environment so that the judges and judicial officers can function fearlessly.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the Constitution Day celebrations hosted by the Supreme Court at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi, CJI Ramana, in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concern on the increasing attacks on judges and said law enforcement agencies need to effectively deal with "malicious attacks" against the judiciary.
"An area of grave concern for the judiciary is the increasing attacks on Judges. Physical attacks on judicial officers are on the rise. Then there are attacks on the judiciary in the media, particularly social media. These attacks appear to be sponsored and synchronised. The law enforcement agencies, particularly the Central agencies, need to deal with such malicious attacks effectively. The governments are expected to create a secure environment so that the judges and judicial officers can function fearlessly," CJI said.
Talking about the pendency of cases in the Supreme Court, the CJI said that the top court has initiated steps to reduce it by harnessing technology. Pendency in the lower judiciary is particularly alarming, he said, adding that it calls for a multi-pronged approach involving all the stakeholders.
He noted that the Union Government has been making reasonable budgetary allocation through its centrally sponsored scheme for this purpose.
"However, due to the non-availability of matching grants by some states, the budget allocated remains underutilized," the CJI said.
He called for the creation of special purpose vehicles, namely National and State Judicial Infrastructure Authorities to help in making optimum use of available funds and standardize infrastructure development under one roof.
CJI said that the new Court complexes should be able to deploy modern technological tools
to accelerate justice delivery and for this, modern equipment with video conferencing facilities and high-speed networks is essential.
"I beseech the Prime Minister to strengthen our efforts in building state-of-the-art court complexes for the lower judiciary," CJI said.
"This is an occasion to recall the sacrifices made by countless patriots in India's
freedom struggle. I feel privileged and honoured to stand here and pay tribute to
the freedom fighters who liberated us from colonial bondage," he added.
CJI Ramana said that the struggle for freedom was aimed at emancipation, not merely political - but social and economic as well.
The CJI said he can proudly claim that, as an institution, the Judiciary has lived up to the faith reposed in it by the Constituent Assembly.
"The fact that the Indian judiciary continues to be the last hope for those in distress, suggests that it is on the right track. The commitment made in the Preamble of the Constitution to secure social, economic, and political justice to all the citizens, imposes a sacred duty upon the state as a whole. However, the general perception is that securing justice is the responsibility of the judiciary alone. This is not correct. On the contrary, it is all the three organs of the State which are responsible for upholding this commitment to secure justice," he said.
"All three organs are repositories of constitutional trust. While the judiciary is the 'guardian of the Constitution,' its role and scope of action are ultimately limited by the very nature of the judicial process," he added.
Noting that the executive and the legislature must work in conjunction with the judiciary to ensure complete justice as envisaged under the Constitution, he said: "Any deviation by the Legislature or Executive from the path prescribed by the Constitution will only lead to additional burden on the Judiciary".
"The Laxman Rekha drawn by the Constitution is sacrosanct. But, there are times when courts are compelled to pay attention to unresolved grievances, in the interest of justice. The intention behind such limited judicial interventions is to nudge the executive, and not to usurp its role.
"The Constitutional obligation and duty of the judiciary to intervene needs to be appreciated in this context. Attempts to project such interventions and constructive observations as the targeting of one institution by another are totally misplaced. If encouraged, such attempts will prove to be detrimental to the health of democracy," he said.
The CJI said that development indicators suggest India's enhanced standing globally.
"We are self-sufficient in foodgrains production. Infant mortality rate, life expectancy and other indicators suggest our enhanced standing globally. Today, India is among the major vaccine producers that support immunisation programmes world over. We are among the leading exporters of vaccines, medicines, software, and many other products. It is a matter of pride that persons with roots in India are leading various international institutions of repute. I salute each one of those who made this nation progress," he said.
Attorney General for India KK Venugopal, who also attended the event, said that the Supreme Court of India's current role should be overhauled and it should be made a purely constitutional court hearing only cases involving issues of constitutional interpretation.
Venugopal spoke about the high pendency of cases before the top court and the delay involved in disposing of matters.
"Right to access justice is a fundamental right and this access has to be within reasonable cost and time. Thirty years is not a reasonable time. There is no use to brush this thing under the carpet. Does one understand the problem a litigant suffers when he comes to the trial court," he said.
Law Minister Kiran Rijiju said that to commemorate this day, Law Ministry has launched an online course on the Indian Constitution and this is to ensure every Indian has access to the provisions of the Constitution.
"Although Constitution is built on separation of power, it is also based on the harmonious working of the three organs of the nation. It is time we give due importance to fundamental duties. We deeply appreciate the contribution of all judges of our country during the pandemic. Supreme Court has emerged as a global leader for holding more than 1.5 lakh virtual hearings," he said.
Justice UU Lalit of the Supreme Court said the constitution is a document that shows the strength of the nation.
"Dr BR Ambedkar and Dr Rajendra Prasad had said what we have given you is a fantastic document but it depends on the people who use it."
Justice Lalit further also said that the spirit of the Constitution should be preserved.
"This Constitution is for us to preserve, for us to work into the area of development, to use it as a tool for the advancement of our social goals."
Justice DY Chandrachud said the event reflects "our shared pride to show how we upheld the Constitutional values, it shows how we were a platform for emancipation and participation".
The event was attended by Supreme and High Courts judges. (ANI)