Bar and Bench owe duty to common man: SC judge Sanjay Kishan Kaul

Supreme Court judge Sanjay Kishan Kaul on Tuesday said the bar and the bench owe a duty to the common man who comes to the judiciary with a lot of faith and the judicial institutions must help him get justice within a reasonable time.

Justice Kaul said the “greatest criticism” faced by the judiciary is not being able to “finish cases on time”.

He said a court case becomes an “arrear” only when it is not finished within a reasonable period of time.

“There are lakhs and lakhs of cases which are filed. I do not think it is a problem that lakhs of cases are pending. But the problem is that the case is stuck in the system (and) continues to prolong,” Justice Kaul said.

The apex court judge was speaking at a function organised at the Saket district court complex where a new office of the Saket Bar Association was inaugurated.

“I have always believed that the bar and judges (the bench) are part of the same system, one cannot work without the other. Both owe a duty and both of them are here for the benefit of the common man,” Justice Kaul said.

He requested the bar to assist the judges in “finishing off these very old cases” within a reasonable time.

“Please keep in mind that for the litigants, it does not matter whether it is the first tier of scrutiny or second tier of scrutiny of the Supreme Court. From birth to the end of the case, it is the time consumed in the litigation that often becomes long because of some of the cases which are stuck in the system,” the judge said.

He said people approach the judiciary “with faith”, despite the delay.

“People come with a lot of faith despite so much delay, so many problems. Why do people still come to the judiciary? They come because they still feel (that) they have faith, that they will still get something from the judiciary and I think, that is something we should be proud of and something we must keep in mind and help the common man for whom these institutions are built to get justice at a reasonable price, within a reasonable time, fairly and honestly,” Justice Kaul said.

The apex court judge, however, said he is in “complete disagreement” with the members of the bar abstaining from work. He said he was earlier a member of a bar association in Delhi and also its office-bearer.

“I call it the ride of a tiger — when you get off the tiger, the tiger eats you up. So this is the problem of resorting to an instrument which is not meant for educated people…. I do not believe there is anything which cannot be discussed and the problem solved,” he added.

Requesting the senior members of the bar to help and guide the junior members, Justice Kaul said it is also the duty of the judiciary to encourage the junior lawyers.

He said it is a matter of great satisfaction to see the facilities that have been provided at the new office of the bar association.

He said there had to be an effort to make the judgments and submissions shorter.

“I think the time has come when both the oral submissions have to be shorter and the judgment has to be shorter. There has to be an effort from both sides for this. Similarly, there has to be a shorter synopsis…. At some stage, we have to discipline ourselves and the lawyers also on this behalf, if we have to see that the problem is solved,” Justice Kaul said.

He said that the practice of holding classes for lawyers by the Saket Bar Association needs to be “complimented and replicated” across bar associations.Also Read

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The association at present conducts classes by judicial officers and others on various legal topics.

Speaking at the event, Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court Satish Chandra Sharma said Justice Kaul had always supported the optimum use of the court infrastructure for a better output and the present inauguration was a step in that direction.

“I am happy to see that the constructive involvement of the Building Maintenance and Construction Committee (BMCC) is improving infrastructure in the district courts of Delhi and it is indeed a matter of great satisfaction that we have come to acknowledge that the court infrastructure plays an instrumental role in securing access to justice. Every single step taken in that direction is aligned with the constitutional goals,” he said.

Other Delhi High Court judges present on the occasion included Justices Rajiv Shakdher, Sanjeev Sachdeva, Vikas Mahajan, Saurabh Banerjee and Amit Sharma.

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