The Supreme Court did not shut down even for a single day during the lockdown period, underscoring the resilience shown by the judiciary in preserving the vibrancy of the Constitution through the pandemic, said Chief Justice of India SA Bobde.
On the occasion of 71st Constitution day, CJI Bobde said “During the lockdown, the Supreme Court did not lock down even for a day as a huge percentage of matters involved fundamental rights of citizens, particularly old persons and victims of domestic violence.”
President Ram Nath Kovind presided over the event organised by the Supreme Court while the SCBA event was presided by CJI Bobde.
“The biggest and the highest challenge the courts faced was delivery of unhampered justice in the midst of lockdown as it gives a sense of security and well-being to citizens…Closing physical hearing in courts was the first step, as otherwise the disease would have spread like wildfire.” Speaking at SCBA event, the CJI said.
CJI Bobde, adding that during lockdown, the top court disposed of 14,849 cases, high courts about 1.5 lakh cases, and district courts close to 4.5 lakh cases, remarked “Our judiciary fared better than judiciaries of other countries.”
President Kovind said, “Justice can be secured to the extent it can be accessed. Access to justice has two major hurdles – cost of litigation and language.”
“Justice delivery system should not play to the gallery. Judges must be left free to decide cases as per law,” Prasad said while taking exception to a recent article which referred to certain judicial decisions as acts of “judicial barbarism”.
The Minister said, “Unleashing criticism that transgresses the boundary of propriety must be reflected upon….we needs to be proud of our judiciary.
Borrowing a saying by Roscoe Pound that courts ought to be swift and certain agents of justice. Attorney General KK Venugopal said, “If you have to wait for 20 to 30 years for justice, it’s a case where justice has failed to the poor and middle class citizens.”
In the coming years, all subordinate courts and high courts will have the facility for live streaming and an intermediate Court of Appeal (between High Court and Supreme Court) can finally decide appeals arising from high courts leaving the Supreme Court to deal with issues of national and constitutional questions, he believed.
This issue is already pending with a Constitution Bench of the top court.