Bar Leaders Applaud SC, Govt for Streamlining Justice Delivery System

Terming the Supreme Court as “one of the finest judicial institutions in the world”, bar leaders on Sunday applauded the measures taken by the top court and the government to streamline the justice delivery system in the country.

Bar Council of India (BCI) chairperson Manan Kumar Mishra and Supreme Court Bar Association president Adish Aggarwala were addressing an event to mark the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the apex court here.

BCI chief Mishra said the Supreme Court earned its reputation as “one of the finest judicial institutions in the world” because of the outstanding contributions of the former and sitting chief justices, judges and stalwart lawyers.

Starting with seven judges and one chief justice, the Supreme Court now has 34 judges, he said, adding that the top court is said to be the most powerful institution in the world.

“It has delivered several landmark judgments to uphold the supremacy of the Constitution and the fundamental rights guaranteed under it. Our Supreme Court fully recognises the powers and supremacy of our Parliament also and in (matters like) abrogation of Article 370 and same-sex marriage, it refused to interfere saying that these are the domain of Parliament,” Mishra said.

SCBA president Aggarwala said the Supreme Court has made its mark for being completely independent, inclusive, and diverse and has stood firmly behind the ideals enshrined in the Constitution.

“During my visits to different countries, I noticed that our judgments are being cited, studied and often followed by their courts. And, I am referring not only to South Asian countries but also courts in Europe,” he said.

“Under the leadership of Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud we have seen the judiciary rise to meet different challenges with active use of technology and video conferencing. The Supreme Court has also decided important cases like Ram Janmabhoomi Babri Masjid dispute, same-sex marriage, abrogation of Article 370 and triple talaq; these decisions have enhanced the faith of the people in the Indian justice delivery system and are acclaimed throughout the world,” Aggarwala added.

BCI head Mishra said the concept of public interest litigation (PIL) is the innovation of the Supreme Court and no other court in the world has been exercising this “extraordinary jurisdiction”.

“A hybrid hearing system is the game changer for courtroom accessing, integrated case management and information system, translation of judgments in almost all important regional languages, online appearance portal, all new e-filings, e-sewa kendras, use of artificial intelligence, free Wi-Fi in court premises, renovation of judges’ library with e-gyan sampada, training hall, e-copy module, data management and automation and live streaming of Constitution bench hearings. These are all the historic achievements,” he said.

Mishra said the judges of the top court heard 60 to 100 cases daily and they were well-prepared for each case and no judges of the top court of any other country had the capacity or the zeal to do such complicated work.

“I must say to criticise any system is very easy. But one should be aware of the ground realities also. The backlog and pendency that is the biggest problem not only before the Supreme Court But before all the high courts and lower courts. But why it is there? It is because of the immense faith of the people, in our judiciary, (and) in the Supreme Court,” he said.

Speaking about the roster system of the Supreme Court, Mishra underlined that the listing of matters was for the Chief Justice and other judges to decide and it was not the “job of the bar”.

He also applauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for having “very strong willpower, confidence, dynamism and expertise political skill” for executing the Ram Lalla’s decree, which was affirmed by the Supreme Court.

“Otherwise the (Supreme Court’s) judgment and (trial court’s) decree would have proved futile,” he said.

Underscoring the success of e-hearing, SCBA president Aggarwala said since the Covid pandemic, the high courts and the district courts across the country virtually heard nearly three crore cases, while the apex court heard more than five lakh cases, thus making India a world leader in virtual hearings.

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“Regarding the justice delivery machinery and its reforms, the government is being seen as a partner and not an opponent of the Supreme Court,” he said.

He said the overhauling of the criminal laws and the law of evidence by bringing in new statutes would strengthen the response to crimes, besides enhancing the people’s faith in the law enforcement machinery.

Aggarwala said he was confident about the pending demands of advocates being fulfilled. These included the demand for providing chambers and cubicles, medical and life insurance to every regularly practising member and the enactment of the Central Advocate Protection Act.

He said that the bar would also render cooperation to the bench and the government in all initiatives to help bring people closer to justice.

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