New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday called upon the judiciary to evolve an inbuilt dynamic mechanism to address its deficiencies while Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu urged both the judiciary and the executive to respect the constitution -- both in form and in substance.
"Do we need a powerful judiciary or a perfect judiciary. We are becoming powerful, there is nothing wrong about it. The pace at which we are becoming powerful it is necessary that at the same pace, we should also become perfect. Our judiciary should be powerful... our judiciary should also be perfect," he said at the inaugural session of a conference here of chief ministers and chief justices of high courts.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi releases 'Legal Glossary' during the inauguration of the joint conference of the CMs and the CJs of High Courts at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on Sunday. Union Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda and Chief Justice of India H L Dattu are also seen. Pic/ PTI
Calling for an "inbuilt dynamic mechanism to address the deficiencies in the judicial system", Modi said: "If we make a mistake, though we have no right, there is remedy in judiciary. "But if you (judiciary) make a mistake, then there is no remedy as there is nothing above you.
We have to repeatedly make self appraisal." The conference is aimed at addressing issues relating to the administration of justice in India. The previous one was held on April 7, 2013. Modi also called for "qualitative changes" in the judiciary, which, he said, could be achieved by taking recourse to digital technology.
Emphasizing the importance of inbuilt mechanism for self-correction, he pointed to criticism that people in the government face for their mistakes and added that judges were lucky not to be exposed to such situations as they enjoy a lot of credibility among the people.
Cautioning the judges on the absence of such mechanism, Modi said: "Howsoever good a person (occupying a position) may be, but in the absence of institutional mechanism there are always dangers of slide." Every care has to be taken so that people's confidence in the judiciary was not dented as that would cause great damage, he said.
"People have a lot of faith in the judicial system of India. We need to look at the manpower that is coming in this field in the coming years. "We have to think how can we create good law institutions, keeping in mind the needs of the future," he said.
Noting there was great responsibility on the judiciary, Modi went on to term it "divine". "...people in the judicial system, what they do is divine. God has sent you to carry out this divine responsibility." Modi also the apex court judges to review the working of tribunals whose performance he said was dismal.
A lot of budgetary allocation was being made on tribunals but their rate of disposal was a matter of concern. Calling for the simplification of laws, Modi said the statute book had to be cleared of web of laws which were redundant.
Noting the central government had decided to erase 700 antiquated laws and another 1,700 laws were being reviewed, he said his wish was to erase one law a day in his five-year term. Calling for judicial officials' training in forensic sciences, Modi said there was need for trained legal people to draft law to ensure bare minimum gray areas.
About pending cases, he said: "We all talk about pendency of cases in courts but have we ever thought the number of hours the judiciary has to spent on them and problems they go through?" In his address, CJI Dattu said the administration of justice can't be achieved by the judiciary alone without the government's full co-operation and support.
He also urged chief justices and chief ministers in states to uphold the constitution in "letter and spirit" for their "ultimate goal" of serving the people.