Justice to Common man – legal reforms – biggest challege before Congress Government?By : V.Durga Rao, Lawyer/Attorney, M/s Durga Rao & Associates

It is really great to see the actions of the Central Government headed by our Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh towards bringing the justice or speedy justice to the common man. Congress Party has always had a concern to the common man and we can show land mark actions like Land Reforms, bringing equality among citizens, ensuring Human Rights and adhering to the constitutional policy of secularism.

I am sure that the Congress Government can bring many reforms in India in the coming future as the congress will be in power for substantial number of years from now as everybody believe. Congress Government has now given an exceptional Home Minister Mr.Chidambaram, Finance Minister Mr.Pranab Mukherjee, Shri Kabil Cibal, Shri Jairam Ramesh and many others who are doing exceptionally well. India can achieve double digit GDP growth soon and we can see overall development given the limitations in the federal system like ours.

But, I feel that bringing justice to the common man in India through speedy justice will remain as a biggest challenge to the Congress Government now. It is true that Congress Party has mooted Gram Nyayalays though Gram Nyayalays yet to be established effectively by the State Governments. It is only a minor step towards bringing the justice to the common man and ensuring speedy justice. But, we need many reforms. I am sure at one thing that unless India is able to establish a reliable judiciary and an efficient legal system, we can never and ever claim that we are developed. It is a bigger task before the Congress Government, but, it can certainly be solved. We have so many problems like employment to the entitled, job guarantee, moist issue, tackling the divisive forces, foreign policies, energy independence, relations with Pakistan, Kashmir issue, bringing equality among citizens, attracting more Foreign Direct Investment and ensuring easy transfer of technology etc. In many areas, Congress Government at the centre is doing well as everybody knows.

But, justice to common man through courts appear to be a big challenge to the Congress Government. Only Congress Government can think about the common man and certainly can solve the issue of justice to common man. But, it is not an easy task at all and we need a long road map. It will take few years to correct the legal system and judiciary in India, but, we need reforms at any cost. As the Congress is likely to be in power for substantial number of years from now, Congress Party can certainly bring far reaching changes in Indian legal system and judiciary. Judiciary has been claiming Independence and Executive has also given Independence to the Judiciary in the recent past as everybody knows. But, it is unfortunate that Judiciary can not delivery goods with all the independence and can only show lack of infrastructure or courts as a ground for delay in justice. Its a complicated issue and one can not shirk their responsibility at all. It is a problem of India and the problem of common man. It is the scheme of constitution where doctrine of separation of powers was high-lightened, but, ultimately it is the Parliament or body of elected representatives who are responsible to the people of this nation. Courts can not make law directly and they can only interpret laws made by the competent law making authority. Being the law maker, Congress Government can take any step and can go to any extent in bringing the justice to the common man and cleaning the legal system in India.

I was reading the statement of Dr.Manmohan Singh in yesterday’s meeting conduced by AICC aiming at delivering the justice to the common man and speedy justice. I was keenly observing the statement of Dr.Manmohan Singh where he has stated as I understood that legal fraternity or the Bar should also take responsibility in reforming the Judiciary and the executive will extend its hand to the extent possible. What if Bar Associations do not discharge their responsibility? It is the responsibility of the Government to work for the betterment of the people and especially common man. Even if the Bar do not take any steps and even if the Judiciary is reluctant at certain reforms, I feel that Congress Government can take appropriate reforms even by resorting to constitutional amendment if need be and by making new laws. The citizenry will definitely appreciate all the efforts towards reforming judiciary and making the legal system in India truly reliable and affordable. There is no way for the Congress Government except doing everything for the common man as it does and it can only do.

I am very happy to know the announcement of Congress Government where the Government has instantly released 1400 crores towards establishing Gram Nyayalays and urging the State Governments to take the lead. I do strongly feel that establishing a reliable and affordable legal system in India is must and without a reliable legal system, India can never claim that it is developed.

Reforming judiciary does not mean establishing Gram Nyayalay’s though it is a major step towards decreasing the mountain like pending cases. Central Government may establish a group of truly talented, young legal experts with all the social and political understanding with proper funding in suggesting the elaborate ways to reform our legal system and judiciary. The committee may have to visit many courts in the India, should listen to legal practitioners, listen to judges and Magistrates including the judges of Constitutional Courts, should listen to the teachers in law colleges, students in law colleges and eminent public. It will be a big exercise spanning few years, but, it is must and we need many reforms. I do strongly feel that only Congress Government can work for the better of Indian Society and common man at any cost. We have seen so many great reforms like Land Reforms, bringing equality to the citizenry, concentration on Information Technology, ensuring public funding to the important things like education and plethora of other things.

If Congress Government can not do something for the common man, then, I personally feel that there is no party or the government at present and even in future to do such a big exercise for the betterment of the Indian Society, common man and overall development.

People are eager to see legal reforms or reforming our judiciary. Where do people go when they don’t get justice from traditional courts or not interested at all to approach the courts due to technicalities, problems, delay and corruption. It is happening now and the common man should be feeling about the security of his rights and Human Rights.

Nothing is impossible and I strongly feel that Congress Government will work towards reforming our legal system and Judiciary. Majority of the people of Indian Society are worried at their rights and getting their rights secured through traditional courts and as such people will be remembering the government which focuses on reforming our legal system. Its a big exercise and will take years, but, it is certainly possible.

We need to concentrate on the functioning of law colleges in India, we need many reforms in legal education in India, we need to lessen unnecessary burden on Magistrates and Judges, we need to make use of information technology in Judiciary effectively, we need to concentrate on appointing quality judges and we need to also focus on corruption in Judiciary. These are all interconnected and peace meal concentration may not work and an elaborate study of ways and means to correct the Indian legal system to be looked into at any cost.

Impressed at yesterday’s meeting conducted by AICC and attended by Smt.Sonia Gandhi and Dr.Manmohan Singh along with Shri Veerappa Moili and Shri Abhishek Manu Singhvi and my brother legal professionals, I wanted to write this small brief with lot of hope that the Congress Government will make the issue of establishing a reliable legal system to the common man a reality.

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