Chief Justice of the Supreme Court N.V. Ramana recently spoke of the need to ‘Indianise’ the justice system. He said that there were a lot of practices that have been carried over from the colonial period – including language practices, and lengthy, often technical judgments – that alienate the common man from the judiciary. He stressed that the justice system needs to minimise procedural barriers so that accessing justice becomes simpler.
Coming from the highest justice officer of the country, his remarks naturally made the headlines. There is no doubt that India’s justice delivery systems need improvement, and any debate on what needs to change is most welcome. However, ‘Indianisation’ is an odd way of framing the reforms needed to make justice delivery more efficient. What exactly did the CJI mean by ‘Indianisation’? How useful is it as a conceptual frame for identifying reforms? And if we were to interpret ‘Indianisation’ as a synonym for ‘people-friendly’, what kind of changes should we aim for?
We explore these questions and more in this episode.
Guest: Arti Raghavan, an advocate who practices at the Bombay High Court.
Host: G. Sampath, Social Affairs Editor, The Hindu.