Referring to Odisha, where over 83 per cent people are living in rural areas and are often excluded from the formal justice delivery system, Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana on Saturday said, “Challenge of accessing justice gets magnified in States which pose significant hurdles like regional and economic disparity.”
Speaking here after inaugurating a new building of the Odisha State Legal Services Authority (OSLSA), he emphasised that guarantee of equal justice formed the core beliefs of the framers of the Constitution and people’s Constitutional aspirations shall never be achieved until the most vulnerable sections can enforce their rights.
Referring to the challenges faced by the Indian judicial system, he specifically focused on two aspects. First, “Indianisation of the Justice Delivery System” and the second, he observed, is enabling the people to “Decode the Justice Delivery System by Raising Awareness”.
He said the concept of “Access to Justice in India” is much broader than simply providing lawyers for representation before the courts. In India, he said, the task to facilitate access to justice to the poor and marginalised has been conferred upon the legal services institutions such as OSLSA, whose activities include increasing legal awareness and legal literacy amongst such classes who have traditionally remained outside the purview of the system.
Considering the gravity of the challenges, he said that if we need to retain the faith of people, it is needed to strengthen the outreach programmes. “We have decided to launch a country-wide robust legal awareness mission in the coming week,” the CJI said and urged the legal fraternity for cooperation and support to take the mission to the remotest corner of the country.
The CJI, who belongs to the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, said both Odisha and his State share the same history, culture, food and habits. He began his speech reciting a poem of legendary Odia poet, writer and philosopher Vyasakabi Fakir Mohan Senapati and ended his speech also by reciting another poem written by social reformer Utkalmani Gopabandhu Das.