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Justice still inaccessible for poor: SC judge

india Updated: Jul 15, 2006 22:00 IST
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A Supreme Court judge on Saturday said the poor in the country had little access to justice because they cannot afford good lawyers and inexperienced government counsels generally assigned to them prove inadequate.

Justice Ashok Bhan, while inaugurating a seminar on "Justice for All" in New Delhi, asked fellow judicial officers and lawyers to make sure the underprivileged had equal opportunities in the justice delivery system.

"There can not be two sets of laws, one for the poor and one for the rich," he said.

The law is equal for all, but poorer citizens can neither pay for good advocates nor sustain the rigours of a long legal battle, he said, adding that the lawyers provided to them at government expense are normally inexperienced and fail to win cases against seasoned private counsels.

His colleague Justice Tarun Chatterjee expressed concern over the long delay in the cases caused due to judicial inaction.

Some of the criminal revision petitions filed before the Allahabad High Court in 1976-78 are still wating for disposal, he said.

Justice Pradeep Kant of the Allahabad High Court, said the concept of justice for all sounded simple but was difficult to achieve, and steps were needed to ensure less privileged litigants were not left out.

"Law is methodology or tool by which we deliver justice" and it cannot be bigger than justice itself, remarked Justice K Sridhar Rao of the Karnataka High Court.

Delhi HC judge Manju Goel also spoke at the seminar, which was organised by the Shahdara Bar Association. SBA media manager Ashok Yadav said the suggestions received would be forwarded to the Centre for consideration.

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