Statue of Unity: A two-day judicial conference
President Shri Ram Nath Kovind inaugurates the two-day judicial conference in the presence of judges from all over the country
If the government and the judiciary work in harmony and with integrity The nation can reach new heights of development : Governor Shri Acharya Devvrat
The state government has provided necessary facilities to the courts by assisting in court proceedings virtually: Chief Minister Shri Bhupendra Patel
Gandhinagar, Saturday: Emphasizing on speedy judicial process, President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind said that all parties should have a positive attitude towards mediation for the desired outcome in justice. Over the past two decades, alternative dispute resolution methods have proved effective in the judiciary. This can be a pleasant solution, especially in civil cases.
The two-day National Conference on Mediation and Information Technology at Ektanagar was launched by President Shri Ram Nath Kovind in the presence of Governor Shri Acharya Devvrat, Chief Justice of India Shri N.V. Ramana, Union Law Minister Shri Kiren Rijiju, Gujarat Chief Shri Bhupendra Patel And judges of the Supreme Court and various High Courts.
President Shri Ram Nath Kovind
Speaking on the occasion, the President recalled his days as a legal practitioner and said that during those years, the issue of ‘access to justice’ was one of the issues that remained on his mind. The word “justice” contains a lot and is rightly emphasized in the preamble of our constitution. He emphasized the need to focus on improving access to justice for all. He said that he had chosen the topics for the conference very carefully. The Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are important in the judiciary for many reasons. But it is important to them because it will help make the system more efficient and more capable of delivering justice, the President said. The President said that over the last two decades, all parties have considered and promoted mediation as an effective tool for resolving disputes. Many legal scholars have also observed that in the case of civil rights, most of the cases pending in the courts between individuals are such that they do not need a decision. In such cases the parties can resolve their dispute through structural intervention of the mediators. The President said that the purpose of mediation was not to resolve the dispute by any order or authority but instead, it was to encourage the parties to reach a settlement by holding regular mediation meetings through mediation. The law also provides an incentive. If any pending case is settled through mediation, the entire court fee deposited by the applicant party is refunded. Thus, in fact, each party is the winner in mediation. The President said that the concept of moderation has not yet gained wide acceptance across the country. He noted that in some places there are not enough trained intermediaries available. Infrastructure facilities need to be upgraded at many intermediate centres. He said that in order for the wider population to benefit from this effective tool, these obstacles need to be overcome as soon as possible. Moreover, if we want to achieve the desired results, all parties must show a positive attitude towards moderation. In this regard, training can make a big difference. Training can be provided at various levels, from introductory courses at the induction stage to refresher courses for mid-career professionals. He also lauded the Supreme Court’s Mediation and Reconciliation Project Committee for its excellent work in organizing training programs in the states.
Talking about another topic of the conference, namely information technology, the President said that we have all gone through a very difficult crisis. Among the crises never seen before during the last two years, if there was one hope it was with information and communication technology. ICT proved to be the most helpful for essential activities and to keep the wheels of the economy moving. Like Remote Working, Remote Learning helps to avoid disruption in learning. In a way, this crisis has proved to be an opportunity for the digital revolution. People are rapidly adopting ICT to make public service delivery more efficient. At a time when real gatherings had to be avoided, it was also possible to administer justice through virtual hearings. The President also said that even before the pandemic the justice delivery system had benefited from ICT to improve the quantity and quality of services provided to lawyers and all stakeholders. He said that under the leadership of the e-Committee constituted in the Supreme Court and with the active assistance and resource assistance of the Department of Justice, Government of India, two phases of e-Court project have been completed as per policy and action plan has been approved and adopted for the respective phases. As a result, statistics published on e-court portals are easily accessible. The President said that, like other public bodies, the judiciary may have faced many challenges in moving to the digital world, widely known as change management, and that is part of the transformation. He said that there would be a full working session on “Future of Technology in the Judiciary” during the conference. Among the many objectives of ICT adoption, improving access to justice is paramount. This is not just a change for the sake of change, but a change for a better world. He expressed confidence that this National Council would consider not only the vast potential of both arbitration and ICT in the courts, but also how to best respond to the challenges that lie ahead.
Governor Shri Acharya Devvrat
Governor of Gujarat Shri Acharya Devvrat said that Parliament, Government and Judiciary are the pillars of democracy. Describing the judiciary as a center of faith for all development, faith and belief, he added that the nation can reach new heights of development if the government and the judiciary work in harmony and integrity. He added that under the able leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the country is moving towards becoming Atmanirbhar.
Even during COVID-19, the judiciary has played its role in guiding the government from time to time in times of crisis. Expressing confidence that a beautiful society will be created if the citizens get transparent and speedy justice, the Governor further said that, if we work with a positive and dedicated spirit so that the criminals cannot escape and Dharmatma does not suffer then the faith of citizens in justice system will increase. But it will grow, he added. The Governor expressed confidence that the conference would be successful and inspiring for speedy delivery of justice to the citizens.
Chief Minister Shri Bhupendra Patel
Chief Minister Shri Bhupendra Patel by welcoming all to the land of Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Morarji Desai and renowned leader Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi of Gujarat, On the occasion of the two-day National Judicial Conference being held at Kevadia said that, this conference will prove to be important for strengthening the judiciary in the country. The Chief Minister further added that, the conference being held on the occasion of Amrit Mahotsav of Independence would be an essence of life for the judiciary in the country for the citizens to get justice quickly and easily using information technology in the courts. Chief Minister added that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a symbol of India’s unity and integrity and one of the inspiration for the whole of India, was a leading example of mediation in the merger of 562 princely states, large and small, before independence. Even in our Sanatan culture, the tradition of such mediation has existed for centuries. This tradition is becoming relevant in the current justice system. He expressed confidence that today’s conference would prove to be important for the parties to know their differences through different mediations and to seek justice by adopting a compromise that is acceptable to them through mediation. The Chief Minister added that mediators are helpful in resolving disputes expeditiously by the parties. Due to which the court case comes to an end by resolving the dispute between the parties and the burden on the court is downsized. He added that while maintaining the family spirit of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, the concept of ‘Family First’ persuasion has been adopted for the settlement of family disputes with the intervention of social, religious and eminent persons outside the court-office. For this, committees have also been formed at district and taluka level. This experiment has become a successful medium in realizing the social principles of harmony, harmony and brotherhood which are the basic principles of the constitution. The Chief Minister said that Gujarat, the country’s role model in the field of information technology, is very much keen in fulfilling the Prime Minister’s vision of Digital by making public services more transparent by using online process in public service projects and public works.
He further added saying that, the services have been provided by adopting a new approach of digital service bridge program to extend the benefits of state government schemes to the citizens of the hinterland of the state. Not only that, but under Bharat Net more than 14 thousand gram panchayats have access to Broadband Connectivity, e-Dhara and e-Gram Vishwagram projects which has been helpful in expanding the scope of information technology in Gujarat to the common man. The Chief Minister said that Gujarat has made extensive use of digitization and IT in the judiciary. The state government has provided the necessary facilities to the courts by cooperating in the court proceedings through virtual means to the public interest approach of the Supreme Court and the High Court so that no one is deprived of justice even amidst the pandemic. At the same time, the state government has been cooperating with the judiciary to bring transparency through virtual hearings, including record digitization, to maximize the use of information technology in the judiciary. The Gujarat judiciary has awaited the country by taking the first initiative across the country to telecast the High Court proceedings live through YouTube.
Union Law and Justice Minister Shri Kiren Rijiju
Stressing on the need for coordination between the judiciary and the executive, Union Law and Justice Minister Shri Kiren Rijiju said that, the Union Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been making continuous efforts to provide easy, fast, cheap and home based justice to the people. The role of mediator has been important in our ancient tradition since the time of Ramayana and Mahabharata, he added. The government has focused on making maximum use of information technology in the mediation and justice system so that citizens can get speedy justice through comprehensive efforts as Sardar Saheb built a united India. He added that alternative arrangements need to be made for the resolution of pending and disputed cases from the lower court to the Supreme Court. Taking these matters into consideration, the Central Government has passed a Mediation Bill in the Judiciary in the Lok Sabha. Opinions of legal bodies, including experts, retired judges and the judiciary, will be sought to expedite the judicial process. “With teamwork, we can work together to bring justice to the doorsteps of the people,” he said. From the lower court to the Supreme Court, the people will get all the necessary cooperation and contribution from the central government to get speedy justice. He added.
Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Shri Aravind Kumar
In his welcome address, Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court Shri Aravind Kumar said that resolution of disputes through mediation is part of the ancient justice system of India. Appropriate steps are still being taken in India for alternative resolution of the dispute. District judiciary can play an important role in resolving any dispute through conciliatory mediation. He also said that information technology has become an important part of life in the present age. Its use in the justice system can make the justice system more people-oriented. The mind mapping carried out in the vicinity of the tallest statue of Sardar Patel will be fruitful. That is the optimism he expressed at the end. In this conference Justices of the Supreme Court Shri Nageswara Rao, Shri M.R. Shah, Shri Abdul Nazir, Shri Vikram Nath, Smt Bela Trivedi, Minister of Revenue and Law Shri Rajendra Trivedi, Chief Justices, Registrars of various State High Courts, Chief Secretary Shri Pankaj Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary Shri Rajiv Gupta were present.
Source: Information Department, Gujarat