New Delhi: Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud on Sunday said the Supreme Court has played its role as a ‘people’s court’ and citizens should not be afraid of approaching the courts, or see it as a last resort. He made these remarks at the inauguration of the ‘Constitution Day’ celebrations in the top court. President Draupadi Murmu gave the inaugural address at the program. The ceremony was attended by Supreme Court judges Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, and many other dignitaries.
Role of courts in resolving disputes and ensuring justice
Justice Chandrachud said, “Just as the Constitution allows us to resolve political differences through established democratic institutions and procedures, the court system helps resolve many disagreements through established principles and procedures.”
“Thus, every case in every court of the country is an extension of constitutional rule,” the Chief Justice said. He said that thousands of citizens have knocked at the doors of the Supreme Court with the belief that they will get justice through this institution. He said that citizens are looking for protection of their liberty, accountability against illegal arrests, protection of rights of bonded laborers, and protection of rights of tribals by tribals. They approach the court with demands for the protection of land, prevention of social evils like manual scavenging, and hope for intervention to get clean air.
He said, ‘These cases are not just quotes or statistics for the court. These cases match the expectations of the people from the apex court as well as the court’s commitment to provide justice to the citizens.’ He said that the apex court is perhaps the only court in the world where any citizen can approach the Supreme Court by writing a letter to the CJI. Can give impetus to the constitutional system.
Efforts to make the court processes citizen-centric and transparent
Justice Chandrachud said, ‘Apart from ensuring justice to the citizens through its judgments, the apex court is making constant efforts to ensure that its administrative processes are citizen-centric so that people feel connected with the functioning of the courts.’
He said, ‘People should not be afraid of approaching the courts or see it as a last resort. I hope that through our efforts, citizens of every class, caste, and creed can trust our judicial system and see it as a fair and effective forum for the exercise of rights.
He said that the courts are now doing ‘live streaming’ of their proceedings and this decision has been taken with the aim that the citizens know what is happening inside the courtrooms. “Frequent media reporting about court proceedings indicates public participation in the functioning of courtrooms,” he said.
Use of technology and artificial intelligence to make the judgments accessible in regional languages
The Chief Justice said that the top court has translated its judgments into regional languages with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and technology. He said, ‘The apex court has given 36,068 judgments in English from the date of its first sitting till November 25, 2023, but the proceedings in our district courts are not conducted in English.’ The CJI said that all these judgments are being delivered through e-SCRs, which are available for free on the e-SCR platform. This platform was started in January this year. He said, ‘Today, we are launching e-SCR in Hindi, as 21,388 judgments have been translated into Hindi, checked, and uploaded on the e-SCR portal.’
Apart from this, till Saturday evening, 9,276 judgments have been translated into other Indian languages including Punjabi, Tamil, Gujarati, Marathi, Malayalam, Bengali, and Urdu, he said. He also mentioned the introduction of ‘e-service centers’ in the courts to ensure that no citizen is left behind in the judicial process.