New Delhi, Nov 26: President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday said he was happy see the Supreme Court work continuously amid the pandemic and this compulsion induced by Covid-19 has helped in finding more creative ways to fulfil the task of access to justice.
The Supreme Court has been taking up matters through video conferencing since the beginning of the lockdown, which was imposed to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kovind, who participated virtually in the Constitution Day celebrations organised by Supreme Court, said: “Our constitution is said to be the lengthiest document of its time. It is elegantly captured in the Preamble, which captures the core values of the freedom struggle and the vision of our founding fathers. It (Preamble) is the heart of the Constitution.”
He added that the Preamble in 85 words spells out core values and the vision of the founding fathers and the aspiration of every Indian. Kovind emphasised that the principles of justice, liberty, equality, and fraternity are not to be understood separately, and the Preamble speaks of resolution for all and that the notion of justice implies access to justice.
The Constitution Day celebrations – held virtually — were also attended by law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Chief Justice S. A. Bobde, Justice N. V. Ramana, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, Justice R. F. Nariman and senior advocate Dushyant Dave, president Supreme Court Bar Association.
The Chief Justice said, “We have fared way better than many countries amid the pandemic. We have disposed of 100s and 1000s of cases while other countries have only been quoting single-digit disposal rates. 14,849 (cases were disposed of) by the Supreme Court, 1.5 lakh cases by High Courts, 4.5 lakh cases by subordinate courts since lockdown measures taken.”
He added that the legislature, executive and the judiciary have an integral part in securing rule of law. “Justice, liberty and equality cannot exist without rule of law. Theory of separation of power does not contemplate a rivalry between these organs,” said the Chief Justice, insisting that as the apex court has observed on various case, three organs are meant to be operate in harmony.
The Chief Justice cited – during the pandemic – the court had had to deal with difficult situations pertaining to migrants, woeful situations of dead bodies, inadequate facilities for men and women, unaffordable cost of treatment and the decision to simply release prisoners, even those undergoing incarceration in detention centres in Assam.
He emphasised that access to justice and access to technology is intertwined in this situation, and urged the law minister to look into this, even though this may be at a great cost to the government.
Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad emphasised that if judiciary has to be independent then judges must be left free to decide and accusations of judicial barbarism are totally unacceptable. “Unleashing criticism which transgresses the boundaries of propriety has to be done away with”, he added.
Prasad criticised that some people have a view on how a particular case should be filed and how the judgment should come, if it is not to their satisfaction then they write articles in the newspapers.