Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Need to learn to trust district judiciary: CJI

Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud on Saturday stressed the need to learn to trust the district judiciary, saying it would truly answer the needs of common citizens who seek access to justice. Justice Chandrachud, the 50th CJI, said the district judiciary is as important in the affairs of the nation’s judicial system as is the Supreme Court and high courts.
Speaking at a function organised by the Bar Council of India to felicitate him on being appointed as the CJI, Justice Chandrachud talked about the use of technology in judiciary, district judiciary, judicial infrastructure, legal education and women in judicial system.
He said an independent bar is inextricably linked with the independence of judiciary and the reason for that is as judges “we have no personal defence or a platform to defend ourselves”. CJI said district judiciary is the first point of interface between the judiciary and common citizen.
“So the process of dispensing justice is so intrinsically human that we have to learn to trust our district judiciary because it is when we learn to trust our district judiciary that we will truly answer the needs of our common citizens who seek access to justice,” he said, adding, “The way we look at district judiciary affects deeply our own personal liberty as citizens.”
The CJI said the higher judiciary is getting “flooded” with bail matters because of the reluctance at the grassroots level to grant bail. “And why judges at the grassroots are reluctant to grant bail, not because they don’t have the ability, not because the judges at the grassroots don’t understand the crime,” he said, adding there is a “sense of fear” among the judges at the grossroots that if he grants bail “will somebody target me tomorrow on the ground that I granted bail in this heinous case”.
“This sense of fear nobody talks about but which we must confront because unless we do that we are going to render our district courts toothless and our higher courts dysfunctional,” he said.
Why should one distrust any person who grants relief to a citizen, he asked.
He said much has to be done for improving the service conditions of the district judiciary. “But above all, we have to bring to our district judiciary a sense of dignity, a sense of self-worth, a sense of confidence in their own respectability, which is why I always say our district judiciary is not a subordinate judiciary,” he said.
He said the apex court may lay down “big ticket judgements” on important issues, but the district judiciary defines the peace, the happiness, tranquillity and faith of the common citizens.
On the use of technology, he said the idea is to make the system more transparent, more efficient for young members of the bar.
The CJI said today on the National Judicial Data Grid, around 77 lakh high court judgements have been uploaded and this will benefit the young lawyers who will have access to it.
Justice Chandrachud assured that everything which he will do would be in the interest of preserving the institution of justice.
Besides the CJI, several others including Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, apex court judge Justice M M Sundresh, Attorney General R Venkataramani and BCI Chairman Manan Kumar Mishra also addressed the gathering.

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