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CJI makes big push for mediation to speed up cases, seeks degree, diploma courses in field

Speaking at the inauguration of the Rajasthan High Court building in Jodhpur, he said the ‘length of time taken for conclusion of litigation is a big deterrent’.

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Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde Saturday made a big push for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) means like mediation to speed up litigation in India.

Speaking at the inauguration of the new Rajasthan High Court building in Jodhpur, he said the “length of time taken for conclusion of litigation is a big deterrent”. 

“It is, therefore, necessary to strengthen the use of ADR, especially prelitigation mediation,” he added. 

Bobde rued the absence of degree or diploma courses in mediation  and said the judiciary had asked the Bar Council of India to work on this avenue. 

He also talked about the role technology can play “in strengthening and enhancing the justice delivery system”. 

Here is Bobde’s full speech:

Ladies and Gentlemen

1. Glorious history, rich heritage, unique customs and lofty traditions, coupled
with a galaxy of eminent Judges and illustrious lawyers have combined to
confer upon the State of Rajasthan a unique and enviable status. It is therefore
a matter of great pride and pleasure for me to be present here in the historic
‘Blue City’ for the inaugural function of the new court building of the
Rajasthan High Court.

2. Since its inauguration, the Rajasthan High Court, has earned fame as an
institution of high standards with strong traditions and ideals. It has the proud
distinction of sending many scholarly and distinguished judges to the Supreme
Court of India. Over 70 years ago, on 29th August, 1949, Maharaja Sawai
Mansinghji, the Raj Pramukh of the State of Rajasthan, on the occasion of
inauguration of this High Court made following invocation:

“I would ask one and all to join with me in invoking the blessings of the
Almighty on this great institution which is being inaugurated today; and
it is our prayer that for all time to come in this Temple of Justice truth
and righteousness shall prevail, that justice be done between man and
man and dispensed without fear, or favour, and that freedom be
maintained and defended.”

I can say with confidence that his prayers have been answered in abundance.

3. Access to justice is one of the most fundamental tenets of the Constitution,
therefore to ensure that such access is not diminished, adequate infrastructure
needs to be provided to the courts. The presence of an immaculate physical
court infrastructure would guarantee that litigants are able to navigate, interact
and communicate efficaciously. This aspect elucidates the correlation between
access to justice and physical infrastructure.

4. The idea of judicial infrastructure cannot be one that is static, rather it should
respond and adapt to the changes in the surrounding context. More often than
not, location of courts as well as modes of transportation play a pivotal role in
a litigant’s decision to even approach the court. The presence of this court
complex adjacent to a four-lane highway will ensure that affordable transport
facilities such as buses and trains are available to a litigant.

5. As an institution, we must remain committed to making justice accessible to
people through strengthening existing avenues and evolving newer means to
achieve affordable, quick and satisfactory settlement of disputes. At the same
time, we must be aware of the changing perception about the judiciary and
litigation. The length of time taken for conclusion of litigation is a big
deterrent. It is therefore necessary to strengthen the use of ADR, especially pre-
litigation mediation.

6. Surprisingly no courses are available for conferring a degree or diploma in
mediation. We have taken the initiative and have asked the BCI to work on
this avenue. The BCI has in principle agreed for the introduction of new
courses in this line.

7. Technology has strengthened timely access to justice by providing real time
information about cases to lawyers and litigants. Recently during the
Constitution Day celebrations, we inaugurated the Official Mobile App of the
Supreme Court of India, which provides useful information such as Cause
Lists, Case Status, Daily Orders, Judgments, Latest Updates, Office Reports,
Circulars, etc.

8. I envisage utilisation of Artificial Intelligence to improve the efficiency of our
justice administration system as the next step in this process. Use of AI in
administration of justice would allow us to redirect and commit judicial time
and resources to resolving complex cases requiring greater application of
mind. I am proud to note that an important step in using AI to dispense justice
was taken last month when we released an AI powered translation engine,
‘SUVAS – Supreme Court Vidhik Anuvaad Software’. It was developed on the
advice of the Hon’ble The President of India and with the assistance of
National Informatics Centre and could be utilised to translate judgments of
the Supreme Court to various languages.

9. Such and similar initiatives, when combined with improvement in existing
infrastructural facilities, go a long way in strengthening and enhancing the
justice delivery system. I congratulate the Rajasthan High Court for this
brand-new magnificent building with all the state of art facilities, which will
undoubtedly make this High court one of the best in the country.

10. All this could not have been possible without the assistance and support of the
State Government. I am sure with better infrastructure in place it would be
much easier to pursue the noble cause of dispensing justice and will always
live upto its motto-‘Satyameva Jayateh’.

Thank you, Jai Hind!

Also read: Justice can never be instant, says CJI Bobde day after Hyderabad ‘encounter’


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