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Important to reach people of all sections, says CJI Ramana at NALSA awareness programme

CJI N.V. Ramana was speaking at valedictory ceremony of Pan India Legal Awareness and 0utreach Campaign organised by National Legal Services Authority. Event was launched on Gandhi Jayanti on 2 October.

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New Delhi: The stark divide between haves and have-nots is a reality, Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana said Sunday, emphasising the need to diversify the Judiciary’s workforce to to reach out to people of all sections.

The CJI urged all stakeholders to popularise methods of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation and local adalats, so that the justice delivery system is not elusive.

“In the past few years the legal services authorities across the country have done a stellar job by facilitating speedy dispensation of justice through the aforesaid mechanism,” the CJI said.

But at the grassroot level there is a need to sensitise and train staff and volunteers to accommodate the needs and sensitivities of the victims and their families, he added.

Ramana was speaking at the valedictory ceremony of the Pan India Legal Awareness and 0utreach Campaign that had been organised by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) to celebrate the 75th year of independence. Launched on 2 October this year, the campaign saw several awareness initiatives (such as legal awareness camps) in various parts of the country in the past 40 days. Sunday marked the end of the campaign.

NALSA Chairperson and Supreme Court judge Justice U.U. Lalit was also present at the event that was attended by Union Minister Smriti Irani, SC judge Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Attorney General of India K.K. Venugopal.

“All the members of a judicial family transform the social order and give justice — social economic political and cultural — in such a manner that the people secure what was promised in the glorious preamble (of the Constitution),” the CJI said.

He also highlighted the role played by the judiciary in “assuring a life of dignity and equality for all”.

Ramana said that the Supreme Court and high courts are hugely conscious of the constitutional scheme and the ability of constitutional courts to function with absolute independence and necessary boldness in the face of adversity defines the character of the judicial institution.

The institution’s ability to uphold the Constitution “sustains our impeccable character”, he said, adding “there is no other way to live up to the fate of our people”.

Also read: CJI Ramana backs 50% reservation for women in judiciary, calls it matter of right, not charity

‘Ensure subordinate judiciary preserved, protected, promoted’

He spoke on the urgency to ensure that the subordinate judiciary of the country is preserved, protected and promoted.

It is the district Judiciary where millions largely go for justice, therefore, it is the real and existing part of the institution.

Hence, without a robust justice delivery system at the grassroot level one cannot imagine a healthy judiciary, Ramana said.

“Therefore nothing is more important than to preserve, protect and promote the independence and integrity of the Judiciary at all levels,” he remarked.

The CJI asked high courts to consider local peculiarities to render absolute justice.

“The state judiciary being closely associated with the people has to be sensitive and aware about their problems and practical difficulties in particular. It needs to be cognizant about both victims and as well as accused and must facilitate their emergency needs,” the CJI noted.

Appreciating NALSA’s efforts, the CJI said: “Despite being part of a welfare state, benefits are not trickling down to the intended beneficiaries at the desired levels. This is where initiatives like this intensive awareness campaign launched by NALSA on Gandhi Jayanti day assumes great importance.”

He rated the schemes and activities (such as the legal aid programmes) of NALSA as a necessary bridge, ensuring access between the benefactor and the beneficiary.

“The work we do at NALSA is essential for a healthy democracy,” he added.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also read: Legislature should revisit and reform laws to match practical realities, says CJI Ramana


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