EW News :
In the hallowed halls of justice, the concept of justice has long been discussed in lofty terms, often divorced from the practicalities of its accessibility. However, Chief Justice of India, DY Chandrachud, has been a beacon of change, steering the Supreme Court towards a paradigm shift that acknowledges the imperative of making justice accessible to all.
In a recent address at the “Strengthening Access to Justice in the Global South” conference, Chief Justice Chandrachud laid bare the essential components that underpin true access to justice. Technology, infrastructure, physical accessibility to courtrooms, and gender neutrality emerged as the cornerstones that can turn the wheels of justice towards the common citizen. It’s a departure from the abstract notions of justice, grounding the discourse in practical measures that resonate with the daily lives of the people.
The Chief Justice’s vision of transforming the Supreme Court into a “people’s court” is not just rhetoric; it’s a call to action. He recognizes that the essence of justice lies not only in its philosophical underpinnings but in its tangible availability to every citizen. This realization is a critical step towards bridging the gap between the law and the people it serves.
Access to justice was constitutionally affirmed as a fundamental right by a Constitution Bench in the landmark case of Anita Kushwaha v Pushap Sudan (2016). However, Chief Justice Chandrachud’s proactive stance goes beyond mere acknowledgment; it translates into initiatives that actively dismantle barriers to justice.
One such revolutionary measure is the introduction of online courtrooms. In an age where digital connectivity defines the contours of our lives, bringing the judicial system online is a stride towards inclusivity. This innovation not only addresses geographical constraints but also mitigates financial burdens for litigants and lawyers residing outside the national capital. The virtual corridors of justice, facilitated by technology, have become a bridge that connects citizens with the apex court at a minimal cost.
In his pursuit of a more accessible justice system, the Chief Justice is steering the Supreme Court towards a more egalitarian future. The emphasis on gender neutrality underscores the commitment to dismantling systemic biases that have historically hindered the fair dispensation of justice.
However, as we applaud these strides, it’s crucial to acknowledge that this journey is far from over. The Supreme Court’s recognition of the need for change is the first step, and now, it is incumbent upon the legal fraternity, policymakers, and society at large to collaborate in realizing this transformative vision.
The evolution of the Supreme Court into a “people’s court” is not just a matter of convenience; it is a fundamental redefinition of the judiciary’s role in society. As the guardians of justice, the Court has a duty not only to interpret the law but to ensure that the avenues leading to justice are accessible, irrespective of one’s socio-economic status, geographical location, or gender.
In conclusion, Chief Justice Chandrachud’s commitment to strengthening access to justice marks a turning point in the narrative of the Indian judiciary. It’s a clarion call to move beyond abstract ideals and actively dismantle barriers that hinder justice. As the Supreme Court takes steps towards becoming a true “people’s court,” the ripples of this transformation have the potential to redefine justice not as an elusive concept but as an inalienable right for every citizen.