Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday made a strong pitch for use of local languages in courts, contending that it will increase the confidence of common citizens in the justice system and they will feel more connected to it.
He also appealed to chief ministers and chief justices of high courts to give priority to cases related to undertrial prisoners languishing in jails and release them, as per law, based on human sensitivities, and asserted that judicial reform is not merely a policy matter.
Human sensitivities are involved and they should be kept in the centre of all deliberations, Modi said.
In every district there is a committee headed by the district judge, so that these cases can be reviewed and wherever possible, such prisoners may be released on bail, the prime minister said.
"I would appeal to all CMs and CJs of high courts to give priority to these matters on the basis of humanitarian sensibility and the law," he said.
Addressing the inaugural session of the joint conference of chief ministers and chief justices of high courts, being held after a gap of six years, the prime minister said a group is looking into making legislations in two formats -- one in typical legal language and the other in simple language which can be understood by ordinary people.
He said it is in practice in various countries and both the formats are considered as legally acceptable.
On the issue of court proceedings, Modi said, "We need to encourage local languages in courts. This will not only increase the confidence of common citizens in the justice system but they will feel more connected to it."
Before the prime minister spoke, Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana said there was a need for the legal system to introduce local languages in courts.
Referring to the CJI's remarks, Modi said newspapers have got a positive headline.
The prime minister also appealed to chief ministers to repeal outdated laws to make delivery of justice easier.
"In 2015, we identified about 1,800 laws which had become irrelevant. Out of these, 1,450 such laws of the Centre were abolished. But, only 75 such laws have been abolished by the states," he said.
Prime Minister Modi said as India celebrates the 75th anniversary of Independence, focus should be on creation of a judicial system where justice is easily available, is quick and for everyone.
"In our country, while the role of the judiciary is that of the guardian of the Constitution, the legislature represents the aspirations of citizens. I believe that the confluence of these two will prepare the roadmap for an effective and time-bound judicial system in the country," he said.
Modi said that 75 years of Independence have continuously clarified the roles and responsibilities of both the judiciary and the executive. Wherever it is necessary, this relation has evolved continuously to give direction to the country, he said.
The prime minister emphasised that the government is working hard to reduce delay in justice delivery and efforts are on for increasing judicial strength and improving judicial infrastructure.
He said information communication technology has been deployed for case management and efforts to fill vacancies at various levels of the judiciary are underway.
Modi reiterated his vision of use of technology in governance in the context of judicial work. The government considers the possibilities of technology in the judicial system as an essential part of the Digital India mission, he said.
He appealed to chief ministers and chief justices of high courts to take this forward. The e-courts project is being implemented in mission mode, Modi said.
He also gave example of success of digital transactions as they are becoming common in small towns and even in villages.
Out of all the digital transactions that took place in the world last year, 40 per cent took place in India, he said.
The prime minister said nowadays, subjects such as blockchains, electronic discovery, cybersecurity, robotics, artificial intelligence and bioethics are being taught in law universities in many countries.
"It is our responsibility that in our country also legal education should be according to these international standards," he said.
Modi said mediation is also an important tool for settlement of pending cases in courts especially at the local level. There is a thousands of years old tradition of settlement of disputes through mediation in our society, he said.
Mutual consent and mutual participation, in their own way, are a distinct human concept of justice, Modi said.
With this thinking, the prime minster said, the government has introduced the Mediation Bill in Parliament as an umbrella legislation.
"With our rich legal expertise, we can become a global leader in the field of solution by mediation. We can present a model to the whole world," Modi felt.
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)