NATIONAL LEGAL MISSION DOCUMENT – MINISTRY OF LAW AND JUSTICE , GOVT OF INDIA
“JUSTICE, Social, Economic and Political” is the spirit and vision of ourConstitution as adopted by us which WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA have solemnly given to ourselves on 26th November 1949. It is the duty of the State to secure a social order in which the legal system of the nation promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity and in particular ensures that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities. Access to prompt and quality justice is the key for realizing this vision. However, in the matter of speedy delivery of justice, the system has not been successful, largely because of the explosion in litigation which, whilst indicating, in a sense, the confidence of the people in the system, also results in increasing frustration and disillusionment with the said system.
The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, at “The Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices” held on the 16th of August, 2009, described the huge arrears and case backlogs as the “scourge” of the Indian legal system. The problem of arrears is not new and various attempts have been made to tackle it. A practical, effective, detailed and achievable system for tackling arrears must be attempted. It is in this spirit that we have a Vision Plan, namely, to reduce the pendency of cases from 15 years to 3 years. Ultimately, an efficient legal and judicial system which delivers prompt and quality justice reinforces the confidence of people in the rule of law, facilitates investment and production of wealth, enables better distributive justice, promotes basic human rights and enhances accountability and democratic governance. To be able to achieve the above objective, it is felt necessary to articulate this Vision Statement which captures the imagination of the functionaries, comprehends the essential elements of the idea of timely justice and constructs a systematic programme of action for expediting the processes of justice. The functionaries include all stakeholders in the judicial system: the judiciary, the Bar, the litigants as well as the Governments, both Centre and States.
Any Vision Statement in this regard may not be able to project workable deliverables beyond a period of 10 years because of the unprecedented developments taking place in technology, economy and polity of the nation. Nor is it possible to capture all aspects of judicial reform in one document. As such, the present attempt is to focus on two major goals in judicial reform namely:
1. Increasing access by reducing delay and arrears in the system, and,
2. Enhancing accountability through structural changes and by setting performance standards and capacities.
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