President Droupadi Murmu on Wednesday said the judiciary, government and police should find a solution to the problem of undertrial prisoners having to stay in prison for a long period because of the huge pendency of cases.
She was speaking after laying foundation stone of the new building of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh here.
“Due to the abundance of cases pending in the courts, a large number of undertrial prisoners are forced to stay in the jail. I have said on many occasions that the judiciary, government and police administration should think about undertrial prisoners who are lodged in jails for minor crimes, and find a solution,” Murmu said.
She expressed happiness to note that the Madhya Pradesh High Court has launched a special campaign named `25 DEBT' to dispose of the cases pending for decades in the district courts, under which judges have been asked to dispose of 25 oldest cases in their courts on a regular basis.
India is a country of 'Panch-Parmeshwar' and the concept of justice was present in our rural system from the beginning, the president said.
The alternative dispute resolution system should be strengthened further which would make the process cheaper and easier, and also reduce the burden on the judiciary, she said.
Every person associated with the judiciary should make efforts to provide simple, accessible and speedy justice to the general public, the president said.
About 4.5 crore cases are pending in lower courts across the country and many of these cases are pending for 20 to 30 years, Murmu noted.
She expressed hope that with the Mediation Act, 2023, mediation would gain widespread and institutional acceptance, and litigation would decrease.
The use of technology in the judiciary has increased rapidly, she noted.
While the ease of justice administration has increased due to facilities such as video conference and e-filing, it also helps with conservation of natural resources due to reduction of the use of paper, the president said.
The government has recently approved the third phase of the e-Court project, she noted.
Organisations and lawyers should come forward to provide pro bono legal help to the deprived classes, the president said, adding, “We have to keep in mind that justice should not become so expensive that it goes out of the reach of the common man."
Empowerment of women is essential for an inclusive India and their appropriate participation in judiciary is important, Murmu said.
Women have a natural sense of justice and it is said that a mother does not discriminate between her children, she said.
The president noted that when the aspect of self-correction by the Indian judiciary comes to the fore, the name of Jabalpur automatically comes to mind.
The decision given by the Jabalpur High Court in favour of protection of life and personal liberty in ADM Jabalpur vs Shivkant Shukla case was over-ruled by the Supreme Court in 1976 (during Emergency), she said.
After 42 years, in 2017, the Supreme Court reviewed its decision and the basic principles of the decision given by the High Court in favour of fundamental rights were re-established, Murmu said.
Thus, in the history of Indian judiciary, `Jabalpur' has become a symbol of progressive journey, she said.
-With PTI Input