Justice should be accessible to poor and oppressed: CJI
The Chief Justice of India, J S Khehar, has expressed his concern over India's poor ranking in Rule of Law index and appealed to all those involved in justice dispensation to make all-out efforts in making judicial redress accessible to all, particularly to the poor and neglected.
Justice Khehar stated that the governments should also share the responsibility in spreading legal awareness which is currently done by National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and state legal services.
"I feel sad that India's rank is 66th out of 113 countries in the 2016 Rule of Law index. We should formulate policies and guidelines to lift India's ranking. We need to take steps to make justice accessible to all, particularly children, women and historically oppressed sections of society for whom justice is still a dream," he said.
"It is the duty of a state to ensure justice to all. We as judges also have a responsibility to ensure that the voiceless and the vulnerable are not denied justice," he said.
In a seminar organised by Delhi State Legal Services Authority , Justice Khehar opined that the present system, where the entire focus of legal aid was on helping the accused, needs to be changed and rights of victim should be given due recognition.
"No accused should be unrepresented but India is a strange country. The bigger is the offence, the bigger is the outreach of the accused to the judicial system. I have never seen accused in such cases fail to access justice. But what about the victims and their families. Their rights should not be ignored. Thus, as the Chief Justice of India, I would make an appeal to reach out to them and provide them legal assistance to get compensation," he said.
Justice Khehar applauded NALSA for their immense effort and work for making justice accessible by organising Lok Adalats through which lakhs of cases were disposed of with the help of ‘out of court’ proceedings.
Speaking on the occasion, minister of state for law and justice P P Chaudhary appreciated the efforts of legal services authorities in spreading awareness and providing legal aid. He suggested that it should be made mandatory for all lawyers to give legal aid and take up cases of the poor, who could not afford to engage advocates.
He further added that the government was ready to take up the administrative works of NALSA to ease its burden.
OUR TAKECJI Khehar has rightly said that the focus of the judicial system should be channelized towards the rights of the victims rather than the rights of the accused. We must ensure justice to all. No one should be left unrecognized most importantly the poor and the oppressed who usually fail to get justice due to lack of facilities.
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