Financial constraints can’t stand in way of access to justice: Chief Justice of India


Financial constraints cannot stand in the way of making access of the people to justice, though it may lead to lack of infrastructure and judges, Chief Justice of India T S Thakur said on Monday.

“Financial constraints cannot stand in the way of making access to justice a reality. That is absolutely in tune with our Constitutional philosophy that access to justice should be a reality and it cannot be a reality if people have to wait for years and years for their cases to be decided,” the CJI said at a function here to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Delhi High Court.

Thakur said this after Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, who also addressed the gathering at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi, assured support of his government in improving infrastructure and recruitment of more judges.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the chief guest at the event which was also attended by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi Najeeb Jung, Delhi High Court Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice B D Ahmed.

Addressing the gathering, the CJI said that judges should introspect about public perception regarding their rectitude as it is painful to see “aberrations occuring at some level or the other which bring disrepute to the entire justice system”.

“I think Delhi High Court has achieved much, but in terms of ensuring that such incidents (aberrations) do not happen, there is much more to be done. I only hope that brother judges at all levels take extra care not to give any room for any doubt or anything that is not in tune with judicial ethics and professional rectitude,” the CJI said.

While appreciating the work done by the Delhi High Court over the years, Thakur said more was required to be done as the task ahead was “formidable”.

“Can we rest on the laurels of the past? I would think not. I think this is an occasion to do some soul searching, some introspection and also for re-dedication because the tasks ahead are formidable,” he said.

“We all know that with increased prosperity, awareness and literacy, cases are going to grow to larger number and where can it be felt more than in Delhi, which has a very very literate, very very aware and highly sensitive citizens,” he said, adding, “I think it is natural that Delhi judiciary will come under tremendous pressure in times to come”.

Lauding the High Court for emerging as one of the premier high courts in India, Thakur said for a person in the legal fraternity, Delhi High Court is like the ‘Mecca’.

“Like for a politican, the ultimate aim is to do politics in Delhi, for people (in legal field) who want to make a mark or get noticed, Delhi High Court is the place,” he said.

He said that Delhi High Court has given four CJI’s and 27 other judges to the Supreme Court and one of the judges of the apex court, Justice Dalveer Bhandari who has been appointed in the International Court of Justice.

“I consider my short tenure of four years in the Delhi High Court as the most educative and the most important part of my career as a judge in the Indian judiciary,” he said.

At the start of the function, Chief Justice of Delhi High Court G Rohini said the high court had covered a long distance since its inception on 31 October, 1966.

She said Delhi High Court has been the first high court which adopted information technology system in the judiciary.