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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Public is angry over 'impotent' laws: minister

Satya Prakash, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, January 12, 2013
First Published: 23:19 IST(12/1/2013) | Last Updated: 23:20 IST(12/1/2013)

The public outrage over the gang rape of a 23-year-old student in the Capital was not only against the depravity of her tormentors but also against the perceived inadequacies in the way procedural laws are administered in India, Union law minister Ashwani Kumar said on Saturday.

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Addressing an international seminar on 'Recent Trends in Judicial Reforms: A Global Perspective', Kumar said, "Law is perceived as impotent in the face of grave injustice, leading to erosion of people's faith in the justice delivery system and the rule of law itself."

The minister said, "Tragic events in the recent past that have shaken national sensitivities have hastened the process of introspection."

Emphasising on the need for urgent judicial reforms, he said: "We need…to work towards  strengthening our judicial system which is seen to be efficient and geared to ensuring justice for all in the finest traditions of our liberal democracy based on respect for the rule of law." 

"Judicial reforms have indeed acquired urgency in view of the imperative of coping with challenges of a transformed world defined by technology globalisation and insatiable aspirations of our people," he said.

Noting that efficacy of any judicial system depended eventually upon the legal empowerment of people and their ability to access justice, Kumar said, "Legal empowerment is a central force in any reform process."

He said creating special courts for domestic violence and sensitising judges might not be enough if women were not aware of their rights or were afraid of approaching the police or courts.

The minister said the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms was looking at re-engineering of procedures and court processes jointly with the judiciary.

The Supreme Court, too, had set up the National Court Management System for addressing issues of case management, court management, setting measurable standards for performance of the courts and the National System of Judicial Statistics in the country, he said.

Kumar said there was a proposal to establish model courts - equipped with infrastructure, improved court and case management and connectivity with police, and prisons for expeditious dispensation of justice - during the 12th Five Year Plan and a pilot project has already been initiated.

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