District court judges should make litigants feel at ease, says CJI Ramana

District court judges should make litigants feel at ease, says CJI Ramana

District court judges should make litigants feel at ease, said Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana on Saturday, underlining that the district judiciary, which acts as the first contact with the justice seeker “must be conscious of the fact that litigants coming to court are under a lot of psychological stress”.

Addressing a gathering of judges, court officers and district judicial officers in Srinagar, the CJI said, “Create a congenial environment for the litigants. Often, litigants are under a lot of psychological stress. Litigants may be illiterate, unaware of the law and have various financial issues. You should try to make them feel at ease.”

The CJI was speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the new building complex of the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh high court in Srinagar.

Urging the district judiciary to bear this fact in mind, the CJI said, “You (district court judges) are at the grass-root level, and are the first contact for the justice seeker with the judicial system. You have a direct link with the people. You must persuade parties to choose ADR mechanisms whenever possible. This will not only help the parties but also will help in the reduction of pendency.”

The new J&K high court premises is spread over 170,000 square meters and is being constructed at an estimated cost of 310 crores. Justice Ramana, who was accompanied by two other Supreme Court judges Justice UU Lalit and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, said, “Although the persons who will occupy this building would be the members of the bar, the bench and their support staff, we must not forget that the focal point of any justice delivery system is the litigant, who is the justice seeker.”

At the same time, the CJI spoke of the challenges facing the judiciary, saying, “One of the major challenges to the protection of rule of law and human rights is the inability of the formal justice system to deliver speedy and affordable justice for all. The justice delivery mechanism in India is very complex and expensive. 22% of the posts in the district judiciary are still lying vacant. Steps have to be initiated immediately to fill this gap.”

Union law minister Kiren Rijiju, Lieutenant Governors of J&K and Ladakh – Manoj Sinha and RK Mathur – were also present. Justice Justice Kaul also spoke at the event, where he said he never misses a chance to visit Kashmir. “Kashmir has a tradition and ancient architecture, and the high court must reflect it.”

He further stated that the courts exist for the common man and a balance needs to be struck by making justice time-bound as citizens keep waiting for justice.

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