Press Trust of India

Institutional collaboration precursor to solution finding: CJI Chandrachud

Institutional collaboration precursor to solution finding: CJI Chandrachud
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New Delhi: Institutional collaboration is the way forward in facilitating access to justice, Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud said on Saturday and highlighted the need for engagement between nations, institutions and individuals.

The CJI, addressing the inaugural ceremony of the Bar Council of India’s two-day ‘International Lawyers Conference 2023’ here, spoke about setting aside differences and engaging as individuals in the service of the nation.

“Indeed, nothing explains this push towards engagement across nations better than the slogan for the recently concluded G20 summit — ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ — the world is one family,” Justice Chandrachud said.

Inaugurating the conference, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government is making sincere attempts to draft laws in a simple manner and in Indian languages to the maximum extent possible.

He also asserted the language in which laws are written and court proceedings take place play a key role in justice delivery.

The prime minister said dangers like cyber terrorism, money laundering and misuse of artificial intelligence do not recognise borders and jurisdiction, and called for collaborative effort by different countries to deal with them.

The CJI, in his speech as the chief guest, referred to a meeting of the union cabinet last week that was chaired by the prime minister, and said it approved phase three of the e-courts project with an outlay of over Rs 7,000 crore.

He said the Supreme Court’s e-committee is not working in isolation but with constant cooperation of governmental institutions.

“Institutional collaboration is a precursor to solution finding not only while adjudicating judicial questions but it also plays a significant role in increasing access to justice,” he said.

“The e-courts programme being implemented collectively by the e-committee, Supreme Court of India and the Union Ministry of Law and Justice is a perfect example of institutions collaborating to make justice more accessible, affordable and transparent,” the CJI said.

He said while the Constitution provides for separation of power among the legislature, executive and the judiciary, it also creates a space for institutions to learn from each other and deliver justice.

“However, it is definitively not utopian to aspire for a world where nations, institutions, and most importantly, individuals are open to engage with and learn from one another without feeling threatened or belittled,” the CJI said.

Attorney General R Venkataramani, speaking at the occasion, dealt with the pros and cons of social media.

He said social media is a “borderless world of communications which connects the globe but distorts and disregards ethical and moral demands”.

Venkataramani said there is a need to talk about the impact of social media on justice delivery and how it can bear pressure on that.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta spoke about the growing economic power of ‘Bharat’ and said it is “the present and future of the world”.

He said India is attracting foreign investment like never before and is leading the world in terms of digital payment, and justice is being delivered to the litigants at their doorstep because of the government’s initiative for digitisation.

Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice of the United Kingdom Alex Chalk KC, Bar Council of India chairman and senior advocate Manan Kumar Mishra and others, including several judges of the apex court, were present at the event.

In his speech, the CJI said instead of addressing specific challenges to justice delivery, he seeks to present an “umbrella framework” to address these challenges and find innovative solutions.

Referring to engagement between nations, institutions and individuals, Justice Chandrachud said, “It is in this engagement that I believe lies the framework to find usual solutions.”

Knowledge sharing is a two-way street and decisions of the Indian Supreme Court are being regularly cited and relied upon by foreign courts, he said.

“At the administrative level, too, the Indian judiciary must remain receptive to collaborating with various nations. India has played a pivotal role by constructing the Supreme Court buildings in Mauritius and in Bhutan,” Chandrachud said.

He said the drafting of the Indian Constitution by the Constituent Assembly is a classic example of engaging beyond partisan lines.

“We find the same bipartisan effort, and this is something of which we, as citizens of India, must be proud, has gone into the passing of the women’s reservation bill in Parliament recently,” Chandrachud said.

He said, “In our tendency to emphasise differences, we often forget the abundant examples of collaboration between institutions to further the interest of justice. This holds true not only in lofty constitutional challenges but more frequently in the everyday interaction between the courts and the government.”

Citing an example, the CJI said a constitution bench of the Supreme Court is currently hearing a challenge about whether a person holding a driving licence for light motor vehicles can drive a commercial vehicle under the Motor Vehicle Act.

“Instead of viewing the case as an adversarial challenge, the court and the government are collaborating to protect the livelihoods of millions of drivers across the country,” he said, adding the ultimate aim of different institutions is the same and that is the progress and prosperity of the nation.

He applauded the Bar Council of India, the Law Society of England and Wales, the Bar Council of England and Wales and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association for collaborating and putting together a conference of “immense promise and relevance”.




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