Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said there are nearly 3.5 lakh undertrials in jail – mostly from poor or ordinary families – and appealed to all chief ministers and chief justices of high courts to prioritise their cases on bases of humanitarian sensibility and law.
The Prime Minister was speaking at the Joint Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts, which was also attended by Chief Justice N. V. Ramana, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Law and Justice S.P. Singh Baghel and Supreme Court judges.
The Prime Minister insisted that judicial reform is not merely a policy matter and human sensitivities are involved and they should be kept in the centre of all the deliberations.
He pointed out there are about 3.5 lakh prisoners in the country who are under trial and are in jail, most of whom are from poor or ordinary families.
“In every district, there is a committee headed by the District Judge, so that these cases can be reviewed and wherever possible, such prisoners may be released on bail. I would appeal to all Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts to give priority to these matters on the basis of humanitarian sensibility and law”, he added.
He said that 75 years of Independence have continuously clarified the roles and responsibilities of both the judiciary and the executive.
The Prime Minister also talked about the complexities and obsolescence in laws.
He said in 2015, the government identified 1,800 laws which had become irrelevant and 1,450 laws have already been repealed.
Noting that only 75 such laws have been removed by the states, Prime Minister Modi said: “I would urge all the Chief Ministers that for the rights of the citizens of their state and for their ease of living, definitely steps should be taken in this direction.”
The Prime Minister said it is important to promote local languages in the courts so that people of the country feel connected with the judicial process and their faith in the same increases.
He said that people’s right to judicial process will strengthen by this and local languages are being promoted in technical education also.
The Prime Minister emphasised that the government is working hard to reduce delay in justice delivery and efforts are being made to increase the judicial strength and improve the judicial infrastructure.
The Prime Minister said “in our country, while the role of the judiciary is that of the guardian of the constitution, the legislature represents the aspirations of the citizens. I believe that this confluence and balance of these two branches of the Constitution will prepare the roadmap for an effective and time-bound judicial system in the country”.
He said the government considers the possibilities of technology in the judicial system as an essential part of the Digital India mission and appealed to the chief ministers and chief justices of high courts to take it forward.
The Prime Minister cited the success of digital transactions in small towns and even in villages and added that out of all the digital transactions that took place in the world last year, 40 per cent of the digital transactions were in India.
The Prime Minister said “In 2047, when the country will complete 100 years of its Independence, then what kind of judicial system would we like to see in the country? How do we make our judicial system so capable that it can fulfil the aspirations of India of 2047, these questions should be our priority today”.