Slow justice contradicts India’s democratic strengths: PM

March 27th, 2010 - 1:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) India’s legal and judicial system reflects “great contradiction”, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Saturday urging that the justice delivery mechanism needed to be expedited to strengthen the country’s democratic roots.
“The Indian legal and judicial system is one of the solid pillars of our democracy… Our government attaches great importance to the legal empowerment of the common man,” Manmohan Singh said, addressing a day-long national convention of Law, Justice and the Common Man.

The prime minister said democracy held “little meaning for the common man” unless he or she is able to secure basic rights and gain easy access to speedy justice.

“The Indian legal and judicial system in some sense reflects great contradiction Our democracy and legal system have strengths that are admired all over the world. We have a free press, a true independent judiciary and independent institutions like the Election Commission and Comptroller and Auditor General of of India, which underpin our democratic framework,” he said.

“However, all these strengths are somewhat diminished due the backlog of cases,” the prime minister added.

He asked state governments to initiate immediate action for the operationalisation of the Gram Nyayalaya Act, passed by the government last year and according to which 5,000 rural courts will be set up at the village level to dispense speedy justice.

“I urge state governments to initiate immediate action to operationalise this act in their states. Once the act is fully implemented, we will have more than 5,000 courts at village panchayat level. These will bring justice at the doorstep of common people,” the prime minister said.

According to official figures, there are over 3.10 crore cases pending across the country and the rural courts are aimed to help speed up the justice delivery system.

These courts will deal with cases at a level below the subordinate courts but in the same capacity. The act provides for first class judicial magistrates dispensing justice. Judicial magistrate first class (JMFC) will be posted at the rural courts and will be called Nyaya Adhikaris.

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