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Justice still elusive for common man, rues CJI

New Delhi, Nov 9, 2013, DHNS: 2:06 IST

Says MGNREGA a good scheme, but wages not being paid properly

Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam on Saturday regretted that despite all efforts, justice remained a cynical word to the common man whose interest got lost in the maze of legal proceedings.

Speaking at a function to mark National Legal Services Day, he said steps must be taken to spread awareness and change the mindset of the people.

“For a major segment of our demographic dividend, justice is still a cynical word because in common man’s perception, law is being administered by our courts for law’s sake and not for justice. It is the belief of most of the people of India that interest of litigant goes unnoticed in the typhoon of legal proceedings,” he said.

Justice G S Singhvi, next senior-most judge in the apex court, concurred with the view and said justice remained an “illusion” for millions of poor people.

He said it is high time to ponder over whether, in 65 years after independence, we have been able to achieve the goal to provide justice for people and whether we have created an atmosphere where everybody has equality of opportunity and status.

“I find justice is still an illusion for millions of people in the country and it is not accessible to a majority of the population,” he said, adding that “We, who are entrusted with the task to deliver justice, must make a pledge to bring justice to the doorsteps of people.”

Singhvi said the causes of injustice to millions of people are illiteracy, lack of awareness, inordinate delay in court proceedings, litigation expenses and cumbersome procedure.

He asked judges to take a humane approach in handling cases of the less privileged section of society.

“We need to rededicate ourself for the cause of justice,” he said, while acknowledging the work done by Legal Services Authorities across the country to make justice accessible to people at large.

The chief justice of India said that the apex court has not been able to dedicate more time for disposal of regular matters of late, since some of the sensitive cases had consumed its time.

Appreciating the work undertaken by National Legal Services Authority, Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam also lauded the Centre’s efforts in providing employment to people of rural areas under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, but observed that people employed under the scheme are usually not provided the wages earmarked under it due to lack of awareness.

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