Saturday, December 4, 2021

CJI’s litigant-centric appeal is charming: Could we do away with My Lord and My Lady please?

Chief Justice of India, N V Ramana

There is a lot of debate lately about Indianisation of the Justice Delivery System in India. By none other than the Chief Justice of India. One point that he raises is that the Courts should be litigant centric. Which makes me feel very nice and warm inside, having seen up close and personal, how litigants feel deep inside when they try to access Courts for whatever reason. Right from the way entry passes are made, till the way the seats are reserved as also the canteens, the litigant centric concept would be a great idea if implemented. 

So what’s a wish list from an observer’s perspective?

1) Dress code in our Courts may need to rapidly move towards Indian apparel. Atmanirbhar in not just the designs but also the fabrics used, which with climate change, certainly may need to be much lighter and easier to maintain. May not be good for the dry-cleaning and worsted suit fabric as well as bespoke tailor businesses but then, change is what clothes are all about, changing all the time. Besides, this is sure to bring the air-conditioning bill down, especially if thick curtains and carpets are done away with too.

2) The litigants must be given priority in the gates that they use to enter the buildings. The gates closest to the main entry, the gates that take them closest to the main foyer, and obviously the best maintained and cleanest gates. Litigants, unless they require ultra high security for heinous crimes, need to be made to feel that they are getting access to justice with equity.

3) Post trial, a method of collecting inputs from litigants, whether accused or victims, may not be a bad idea in context with Indianisation of the Justice Delivery System also. We are, after all, a democracy – and listening to the Citizens is very important too. Whether these inputs are acted on or not is another matter – we, the Citizens of India, do also need to know what the users of the Justice Delivery System have to say about matters.

4) Most importantly – our Laws need to be made simpler. Much simpler. As short and sweet as that.

5) Finally, what is with My Lord and My Lady as forms of addressing people in a Democracy?

Justice needs to be short and swift as well as accurate. Like articles on the subject.

Veeresh Malik was a seafarer. And a lot more besides. A decade in facial biometrics, which took him into the world of finance, gaming, preventive defence and money laundering before the subliminal mind management technology blew his brains out. His romance with the media endures since 1994, duly responded by Outlook, among others.

A survivor of two brain-strokes, triggered by a ship explosion in the 70s, Veeresh moved beyond fear decades ago. 

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