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Justice can never be instant, says Chief Justice of India Bobde

CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde. File

CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde. File   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

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Justice must never ever take the form of revenge. It will lose its character as justice if it becomes revenge, he says.

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde on Saturday said justice could never be instant and it would lose its character as justice if it became “revenge”. However, the criminal justice system should reconsider its position towards the time consumed in disposal of cases, he noted. 

Justice Bobde's remarks – made at the inauguration of Rajasthan High Court’s new building here with Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in attendance – came a day after the four accused in a rape and murder case were shot dead by the police in Hyderabad. The CJI did not make any specific reference to the Hyderabad incident.

Justice Bobde said an old debate on delay in dispensation of justice had been sparked off with a new vigour after some recent events. “But I don’t think justice can ever be or ought to be instant. Justice must never ever take the form of revenge. It will lose its character as justice if it becomes revenge.” 

While laying emphasis on making justice accessible to people, he said the existing avenues should be strengthened and newer means evolved to build an affordable and satisfactory model of settlement of disputes. “At the same time, we must be willing to respond to changes and perceptions about judiciary... Access to justice is a fundamental tenet of courts.”

Referring to the “much criticised press conference” held by four most senior Supreme Court judges on January 12, 2018, Justice Bobde said there was a need in the judiciary to invoke “self-correcting measures”, though it could be debated if such measures should be publicised or not. The press meeting was nothing more than a self-corrective step.

“All judges [at the press conference] were eminent and Justice [Ranjan] Gogoi in particular showed great competence and led the judiciary from the front,” Justice Bobde said. The institution, which must correct itself, had indeed done it, he said, adding that he did not wish to justify the judges’ interaction with journalists.

Justice Bobde called for devising methods for not only speeding up litigation but also preventing the practice of taking every dispute to the courts. While the compulsory pre-litigation mediation should be seriously considered, the modern technology, including artificial intelligence, should be applied to the justice delivery system, he said.

President’s call

Inaugurating the new building, President Ram Nath Kovind said the provision of free legal aid and the applications of technology, as a “great leveller of our times”, could make justice accessible to the poor and marginalised people. “The very Preamble of the Constitution exhorts all of us to make justice accessible to all,” he pointed out.

Mr. Prasad appealed to the CJI and other senior judges of the Supreme Court to devise an effective mechanism to monitor quick disposal of rape cases. “The women of the country are in deep pain and distress. They are crying for justice. India's judiciary needs to rise to the occasion,” he said.

Constructed at a cost of ₹277.16 crore, the High Court's new building at Jhalamand here has one Chief Justice's court, 21 courts for judges, auditorium, library, full courtroom and litigant waiting area with ample space for public utility services as well as separate blocks for advocates' chambers. The building, made of famous Jodhpur stone called chhitar, is circular in shape with a bog dome.

Seven judges of the Supreme Court – Justices N.V. Ramana, Arun Mishra, Navin Sinha, Indira Banerjee, Ajay Rastogi, Dinesh Maheshwari and S. Ravindra Bhat – and High Court's Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty were present. Rajasthan Governor Kalraj Mishra and Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot also addressed the gathering of legal luminaries. 

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 5:58:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/justice-can-never-be-instant-says-chief-justice-of-india-bobde/article30230641.ece

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