India's judicial system needs to give priority to common man, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said on Saturday at the Bar Council of India's felicitation event for Chief Justice NV Ramana while he stressed: "Justice delayed is justice denied". At the event, he also showered praise on Chief Justice Ramana, underlining that he will "create a new dawn for the judiciary".
Mr Rijiju, 49, who took charge as the Law Minister in July after a huge cabinet reshuffle, on Saturday raised the issue of pending court cases in the country at the event. "People keep raising the issue of cases pending in courts. It's the lower courts where we need to look at with urgency. When a person of a humble background or from a rural area looks up to get justice, he gives it his all. Sometimes he even has to sell off his land and other assets," the Union Minister stressed.
"Then if the justice gets delayed, it's a big question mark on all of us. Justice delayed is justice denied. The last-mile-man...the common man needs to be given priority," he added
"Law has often been seen as a rich man' profession. Slowly the situation is changing. Opportunities are opening up. Lakhs of people in India are unable to approach courts. Lack of money and time delays are a big challenge," Chief Justice Ramana said at the event.
Praising Chief Justice Ramana, the Law Minister said: "The Chief Justice of India is doing exactly what needs to be done."
Recalling his first meeting, the Minister said: "When I met Chief Justice Ramana for the first time, I did not know him well. I had heard about him from (a) friend and media. He has proven to be a person of high integrity who will create a new dawn for the judiciary."
After Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the Chief Justice is a "good human being and a good judge," Mr Rijiu said in jest: "I agree with all that has already been said in his honour. If I try to add or do anything more now... it will lead to a disaster."
The Law Minister also assured at the event that the government will try to help "by taking all appropriate measures" as lawyers raised grievances about financial issues amid the pandemic.
"The Supreme Court and the Indian judiciary have set an example for all other nations during the challenging pandemic period. Mr Mishra (BCI Chairman MK Mishra) informed us about problems of lawyers who don't have the protection of legal firms. I promise from here (from this podium) that we will do everything we can for them. In the last cabinet meeting, we have approved the revamping of infrastructure of the lower judiciary. At one go, we will create important infrastructure in the lower courts," Mr Rijiju assured.