Chief Justice NV Ramana: Inclusive growth requires inclusive access to legal aid

Chief Justice NV Ramana speaking at an event for Legal Aid Services (File)

New Delhi:

The lack of readily available legal aid “removes the full potential of the individual,” Chief Justice NV Ramana said on Saturday, as he addressed an event aimed at raising legal awareness across the country and called on the government to guarantee equal access to justice for all members. of the society.

The Chief Justice stressed the importance of “inclusive access to legal services” to ensure “inclusive growth” and said that issues such as low (or low) salaries and uncertainty about the next meals were obstacles affecting justice for millions of India’s poorest people.

He also underlined the importance of a fully functioning judiciary, in particular to alleviate the cases that have accumulated following the pandemic; he said “we have tried to ensure faster justice”.

On that note, he thanked the government for the “swift approval” of nine Supreme Court justices and said he was assured by Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, who was present at the event (as was President Ram Nath Kovind), that further approvals would “come in a day or two”.

The chief justice’s comment was important given that since September 4, more than 100 recommendations regarding high court appointments and transfers have been made.

They are all, so far, awaiting government approval.

The Supreme Court College (headed by the chief justice) also recommended 16 names as judges at the High Courts of Bombay, Gujarat, Odisha, Punjab and Haryana on Wednesday.

“Today (Gandhi Jayanti) is a historic day for India and the world (…) the teachings of the Mahatma continue to guide us towards a better humanity. Gandhiji believed in the well-being of all, including those who are the lowest in society, ”he added. Judge NV Ramana said today.

“For inclusive growth … we must provide inclusive access to legal services. We must ensure equal access to justice. Unmet legal needs remove the full potential of the individual (and) in countries with gaps socio-economic expand. “

“In our country (there are) so many problems like the lack of salary, the uncertainty about the next meal … (these) are obstacles to access to justice,” said the judge in chief, and stressed the importance of people, especially those from vulnerable sections. , knowing their rights and legal remedies.

“The key to equal justice is legal awareness … when vulnerable people know they can access legal services,” he said, noting that President Kovind was also a lawyer.

The Chief Justice also spoke about the impact of COVID-19 on the justice system, saying it created several problems, including the backlog of cases and more vacancies in the courts.

Last week, the chief justice also said he hoped face-to-face hearings at the Supreme Court and others across the country could resume soon.

These had been suspended following the pandemic, with all courts switching to a virtual hearing system. The chief justice, however, stressed that he was unwilling to take any risks.

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