'Legislature should reform laws to suit needs of time'

Legislature needs to reform laws to suit needs of time, people: CJI

Our laws must match with our practical realities, Ramana said

Chief Justice of India N V Ramana. Credit: Special arrangement

Chief Justice of India N V Ramana on Saturday said the legislature needs to revisit the laws, and reform them to suit the requirements of the time and people to avoid the judiciary stepping in as a lawmaker.

"Our laws must match with our practical realities. The executive has to match these efforts by way of simplifying the corresponding rules. Most importantly, the Executive and the Legislature should function in unison in realising the Constitutional aspirations," he said. 

It is only then, that the Judiciary would not be compelled to step in as a lawmaker and would only be left with the duty of applying and interpreting the laws, he added. 

Speaking at the inauguration of a new building of the Odisha state legal services authority in Cuttack, CJI Ramana reiterated his call for "Indianisation of judicial system". 

He pointed out that even after 74 years of independence, traditional and agrarian societies -- which have been following customary ways of life -- still feel hesitant to approach the courts.

"The practices, procedures, language and everything of our courts feels alien to them. Between the complex language of the acts and the process of justice delivery, the common man seems to lose control over the fate of his grievance. Often in this trajectory, the justice-seeker feels like an outsider to the system," he said.

Maintaining that Indianisation of justice delivery system remained as a primary challenge for the judicial system, Justice Raman said a harsh reality is that, often our legal system failed to take into consideration the social realities and implications.

He said people might be bringing their problems to the courts, but what remains at the end of a day is yet another "case".

He said it is a general understanding of the people that it is the court's responsibility to make laws. "This notion has to be dispelled. This is where the role of other organs of the State, i.e. the legislature and the executive assumes great significance," Justice Ramana said.

Elaborating on the second challenge, enabling the people to "decode the justice delivery system by raising awareness", Justice Raman said the legal services have become an integral part of the judicial administration and lack of proper infrastructure and funds result in reduction of the activities carried out by these institutions.

"As a result, the number of beneficiaries who avail services of these institutions reduces. Ultimately the goal of access to justice for all gets hampered. If we want to retain the faith of our people, we need to strengthen not only the judicial infrastructure, but we also need to boost our outreach programme as well," he added.

The CJI said a country-wide robust legal awareness mission would be launched in the upcoming week. 

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