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Government of India
Prime Minister's Office
29 APR 2022 1:50PM by PIB Delhi
English rendering of PM’s address at Joint Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts

Hon'ble Chief Justice of India Shri NV Ramana ji, Justice Shri UU Lalit ji, Union Law Minister Shri Kiren Rijiju ji, Minister of State Prof. SP Singh Baghel ji, Respected Chief Ministers of all states, Lieutenant Governors of UTs, Hon'ble Judges of the Supreme Court of India, Chief Justices of High Courts, distinguished guests, all other dignitaries present here today, ladies and gentlemen!

This joint conference of the Chief Ministers of States and the Chief Justices of the High Court is the reflection of our constitutional marvel. I am glad that on this occasion I also got an opportunity to spend a few moments with you all. In our country, while the role of the judiciary is that of the guardian of the constitution, the legislature represents the aspirations of the citizens. I believe that this confluence of the two streams of Constitution and the balance created will prepare the roadmap for an effective and time bound judicial system in the country. I extend my heartfelt good wishes to all of you for this event.

Friends,

These joint conferences of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices have been held in the past as well. And, some new ideas have always emerged from them for the country. But, this time this event is even more special. Today this conference is being held at a time when the country is celebrating the 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav'. These 75 years of independence have continuously clarified the roles and responsibilities of both the judiciary and the executive. Wherever necessary, this relation has evolved continuously to provide a direction to the country. Today, during the 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav', as the country is taking new resolutions with new dreams, we too must look towards the future. What kind of judicial system would we like to see in the country in 2047, when the country will complete 100 years of its independence? How do we make our judicial system so capable that it can fulfil the aspirations of India of 2047? This question should be our priority today. We should have a vision of such a judicial system in 'Amrit Kaal’ where justice is accessible, justice is expeditious and justice is for all.

Friends,

The government is making every effort to reduce the delay in justice in the country. We are trying to increase the judicial strength and the efforts are on to improve the judicial infrastructure. The use of ICT for case management has already been started. From subordinate courts and district courts to high courts, efforts are also being made to fill vacancies. Besides, extensive work is also being done in the country to strengthen the judicial infrastructure. States also have a major role to play in this endeavour.

Friends,

Today technology has become an important tool for the rights of citizens, for their empowerment all over the world. Even in our judicial system, you are all familiar with the possibilities of technology. Our Honourable judges keep taking this discussion forward from time to time. The Government of India also considers the possibilities of using technology in the judicial system as an essential part of the Digital India mission. For example, the e-courts project is being implemented today in mission mode. Under the guidance of the Supreme Court e-committee, the work of technology integration and digitization in the judicial system is progressing rapidly. I would also urge all the Chief Ministers present here and all the chief Justices of the high courts to give special importance to this campaign and to carry it forward. This integration of judiciary with Digital India has become the expectation of the common man of the country today. You see, a few years ago digital transactions were considered impossible for our country. People were apprehensive about it. They used to wonder if this could ever happen in our country. And they also believed that its scope would be limited only to the cities; it would not be extended beyond that. But today digital transactions have become common in small towns and even villages. Out of all the digital transactions made all over the world last year, 40 percent of it had taken place in India. Those services related to the government, for which the citizens had to constantly go to the offices for months earlier, are now available on mobile. In such a scenario, it is quite natural that the citizen, who is getting services and facilities online, will have similar expectations regarding the right to justice as well.

Friends,

Today when we are talking about technology and futuristic approach, an important aspect of it is tech-friendly human resources. Technology is a natural part of the lives of youth today. We have to ensure that this expertise of the youth becomes their professional strength. Nowadays subjects like block-chains, electronic discovery, cyber-security, robotics, artificial intelligence and bio-ethics are being taught in law universities of several countries. Legal education should be according to these international standards in our country as well. And it is the responsibility of all of us to ensure the same. We need to make concerted efforts for that.

Friends,

It is said in our scriptures-न्यायमूलं सुराज्यं स्यात्. That is, justice is the basis of governance in any country. Therefore justice should be connected to the people; it should be the lingua franca of the people. Unless the common man understands the basis of justice, there is not much of a difference between justice and government order for him. These days I am brainstorming on a subject in the government. There are many such countries in the world where laws are made using the legal terminologies, but at the same time those legal terminologies are explained in simple language for the common man to understand. Both the forms are valid. As a result, the common man does not have to go to the judicial system again and again to understand the legal terms. We are trying to ensure that in the coming days, there is not only a complete 'legal terminology' for the laws in our country, but also a simpler version of the same laws in a language well understood by the common man. Both would be passed together in the Assembly or in the Parliament so that later the common man can speak on the basis of it. This is a tradition in many countries of the world. Now I have formed a team, and they are studying it.

Friends,

Even today in our country all the proceedings of the high courts and the Supreme Ccourt are done in English. And I appreciate that the CJI himself has touched upon this topic. If the newspapers pick up this story tomorrow, it will make a positive news story. But people will have to wait for that.

Friends,

A large population finds it difficult to understand the judicial process as well as its verdicts. We need to make this system simple and accessible to the general public. We need to encourage local languages in courts. This will increase the confidence of the common man of the country in the judicial system. They will feel connected to it. Now we are trying to impart technical education and medical education in our mother tongue. Our children go to other countries and try to learn new languages of those countries to get admission in medical colleges. So, we can start this initiative in our country. I am glad that many states have taken the initiative of imparting technical education and medical education in their mother tongue. The poor child of a village faces obstacles due to language barriers in higher education. But now all avenues will be opened to him and this too is a great justice. This is also social justice. There is no need to go to the judiciary for social justice. Sometimes language can also become a major factor in getting social justice.

Friends,

Another serious problem is the interpretation of law for the common man. In 2015, we had identified about 1800 such laws which had become outdated or irrelevant. Out of these, we abolished 1450 such laws of the centre. But, only 75 laws have been abolished by the states. All the Chief Ministers are sitting here today. I urge you to take steps to repeal those laws for the rights of the citizens of your state, for their ease of living. There is such a huge web of laws in your regions. People are trapped in the web of archaic laws. Kindly repeal those laws and the people will bless you!

Friends,

Judicial reform is not just a policy matter. To resolve crores of pending cases in the country, every effort, from policy to technology, is being made in the country and we have discussed it time and again. In this conference as well, all the experts like you will talk in detail on this subject. I am certain of a positive outcome. I have probably been attending such meetings for a very long time. Perhaps I have got the opportunity to attend such meetings more than the judges because I used to come to this conference as a Chief Minister for several years. Now I have got the opportunity to keep coming here as the Prime Minister. In a way, I am a senior in this gathering.

Friends,

While speaking on this subject, I believe that human sensitivity is very crucial to all these tasks. We also have to keep human sensitivity at the core. Today, there are about 3.5 lakh prisoners in the country who are under-trial and are in jail. Most of these people are from poor or ordinary families. In every district there is a committee headed by the District Judge to review these cases and wherever applicable they can be released on bail. I would appeal to all the Chief Ministers and justices of the High Courts to give priority to these matters, if possible, on humanitarian grounds and of course on the basis of law. Similarly, mediation is also an important way of getting long-pending cases resolved in the courts, especially at the local level. There is thousands of years old tradition of settlement of disputes through mediation in our society. Amicable settlement and mutual participation reflect a distinct humanitarian concept of justice. In fact, that characteristic of our society still exists. We have not lost those traditions of ours. We need to strengthen this democratic system. I would also like to appreciate Lalit Ji . He has travelled all over the country and has visited every state for this work and that too during the Corona period.

Friends,

In this way, cases are resolved in less time, the burden of courts is also reduced, and the social fabric also remains secured. With this thinking, we have introduced the Mediation Bill in the Parliament as umbrella legislation. With our rich legal expertise, we can become a global leader in the field of 'Mediation to Solution'. We can present a model to the whole world. I am sure that with ancient human values and modern approach, after discussing all such topics in detail in this conference, all the scholars like you will come up with that essence, which will probably be useful to the future generations. The new ideas that will emerge from this conference will become a medium to fulfil the aspirations of New India. With this belief, I am once again grateful to all of you for your guidance and I assure you on behalf of the government that both the central government and the state governments will put every effort and provide every possible assistance to the judicial system of the country so that all of us together can fulfil the aspirations and expectations of the citizens of the country. I hope we can stride ahead further with more pride, honour and glory in terms of our judicial system when the nation celebrates 100 years of independence in 2047. My best wishes to you! Thank you very much!

DISCLAIMER: This is the approximate translation of PM’s speech. Original speech was delivered in Hindi.

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DS/AK/IG