Judiciary, legislature, executive should unite for citizens: Prez Murmu
Speaking during the 73rd Constitution Day celebrations at the Supreme Court, President Droupadi Murmu struck an emotional cord with the judges and lawyers regarding the plight faced by prisoners whose trial takes years to be decided while they remain incarcerated for years without being aware of their fundamental rights, Preamble of the Constitution and Directive Principles
President Droupadi Murmu on Saturday said that the three organs of the state — legislature, executive and judiciary — should unite their thoughts to work for the people of the country, with Union law minister Kiren Rijiju adding that the government shared a “close, cordial relationship” with the judiciary.
Speaking during the 73rd Constitution Day celebrations at the Supreme Court, President Murmu struck an emotional chord with the judges and lawyers regarding the plight faced by prisoners whose trial takes years to be decided while they remain incarcerated for years without being aware of their fundamental rights, Preamble of the Constitution and Directive Principles.
She said: “There are three pillars of the state – the legislature, executive and judiciary. For the common citizenry, nation and its people, somewhere our minds and thoughts should be united. There need to be checks and balances. But somewhere we need to work together. We are for the people, by the people and that’s why we need to think about the people.”
The first tribal woman President of the country also got a standing ovation after she shared her thoughts about having more jails. “Today, there is requirement for having more jails due to overcrowding (in prisons).”
Being the first woman from her village in Odisha to receive college education, President Murmu said: “The participation of women in public life since Independence has shown an upward trend. But there is no reason to be content. The judiciary should strive to enhance gender balance.”
She said it was a matter of pride that when the West was debating about women empowerment, the 389-member Constituent Assembly that drafted the Indian Constitution had 15 women. “When some of the leading nations in the West were still debating women’s rights, in India women were participating in the framing of the Constitution.”
Union law minister Kiren Rijiju shared similar sentiments on the occasion by pointing to the skewed representation of women in the Indian judiciary. He said: “Over the past seven decades of India’s journey as an independent nation, the representation of women as judges has increased. However, much distance needs to be traversed to address the needs of providing diversity in the higher judiciary and to meet the expectations of the cross-section of people and areas.”
Towards this end, he said: “In matters of appointment of judges, the Government of India is committed to social diversity and has been requesting the chief justices of the high courts to provide for the same while sending proposals for the appointment of judges.”
Lately in the news for his remarks on the collegium of the Supreme Court being “opaque” and “non-accountable”, Rijiju said: “As a team from the Government side, we are doing everything possible to strengthen the Indian judicial system and to have a very close, cordial relationship with the judiciary to identify those issues which we have to deal with collectively.”
He also talked about tackling the pendency of nearly 50 million cases for which the “centre of attention” should be on district courts which bear the maximum burden of over 43 million cases. He assured that the government shall work in coordination with the judiciary to work in this direction by allocating necessary funds.
Earlier in the day, he said that language is perceived as the common barrier in states in ensuring universal access to justice to citizens of the country. He said that as an initiative by his ministry, the Bar Council of India has constituted Bharatiya Bhasha Samiti chaired by former CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde. This committee will list out commonly used words and phrases in various branches of law (civil, criminal and constitutional) for developing a common core vocabulary close to all Indian languages for the purposes of translating legal material into regional languages, Rijiju said.