'Judiciary must keep pace with change in expectation'

As world changes, judiciary needs to keep pace with change in expectations: Justice Kaul

Just as the world is changing, the judiciary has to keep pace with the change in the expectations of society and needs of the vulnerable while also playing the role of a powerful, stabilising and moderating influence, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said on Sunday.

Justice Kaul was delivering the vote of thanks at the culmination of the International Judicial Conference, 2020 held at the Supreme Court which was attended by Chief Justices and Judges from various countries.

He said judiciaries the world over play a common role in social transformation, adapting to the changing nature of developments in the face of information and communication technology, building diversity and eliminating discrimination.

"Just as the world is changing, the judiciary has to use its synergy and imagination in keeping pace with the changing expectations. The judicial system has to be bolstered to make the judiciary resilient and dynamic in the true sense of the word, to fulfil the role of a powerful, stabilizing and moderating influence.

"Rule of law can be established with public trust and the judiciary cannot be oblivious to changes in the society and to needs of the most vulnerable," Justice Kaul said.

Referring to some of the topics like gender justice which were discussed in the conference, he said there was a "need to weed out entrenched prejudices" by way of progressive pronouncements like the recent Supreme Court ruling to grant permanent commission and command postings to women in the Indian armed forces.

Justice Kaul further said the problem of remaining objective in the face of populism needs considerable debate as "the majority view is normally reflected by the government of the day and it is the judiciary which plays the balancing act".

"The role of the judiciary, thus, may often become anti-majoritarian," he added.

Referring to the conflict between development and environment protection which often requires the judiciary to step into the executive's domain, he said, "If we mess with nature, the nature messes with us in a ruthless manner".

In his vote of thanks, Justice Kaul also paid tribute to President Ram Nath Kovind saying "Rashtrapati Ji's rise to the highest office of the land is a reflection of the aspiring India, where, through hard-work and dint of effort, people rise to occupy their rightful positions in the social and cultural milieu of the country".

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