As backlog of over three crore cases clogs the wheels of justice, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday called upon the bar and the bench to join hands to build a strong and effective justice delivery system to ensure rule of law in the country.
"Unless this happens, we cannot succeed substantially in providing speedy and affordable justice to millions of our countrymen, especially those who belong to the poor and weaker sections of our society," the PM said.
Addressing the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Bar Council of India (BCI), Singh expressed serious concern over the large number of cases pending in courts, especially in trial courts.
"I would urge the whole of the legal fraternity to pool their knowledge, wisdom and experience to find ways and means to tackle this problem," he said.
Chief Justice of India Altmas Kabir stressed the need for adopting the alternative dispute resolution mechanism, like lok adalats and mediation for settling the disputes.
"Today dockets of the court are quite difficult to manage. Maybe there are various reasons for it. One is rising population, then the number of cases are increasing. This is bound to happen," the CJI said.
He also expressed concern over the falling standards in the legal profession.
Law minister Ashwani Kumar said law colleges should constantly upgrade their curricula.
"Lawyers must keep pace with the process of globalization", the minister said listing Information Technology, Intellectual Property Rights, regulatory mechanisms, international trade etc. among the new horizons of law.
Earlier, in his welcome address BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra highlighted the problems faced by lawyers including insurance cover, stipend for young students and legal aid.
Pointing out that BCI played a key role in bringing about the five year law course while the National Law School in Bangalore was its brainchild, Mishra said the courses were more popular than those of IITs and IIMs.