President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday said that it is incumbent upon the judges to exercise utmost discretion in their utterances in the courtrooms. He said that indiscreet remarks, even if made with good intention, give space for dubious interpretations to run down the judiciary.

Addressing the valedictory function of the Constitution Day Celebrations organized by the Supreme Court of India, the President said that in Indian tradition, judges are imagined as a model of rectitude and detachment more akin to ‘sthitpragya’.

“We have a rich history of legions of such judges known for their utterances full of sagacity and conduct beyond reproach, which have become hallmarks for the future generations. He was happy to note that the Indian judiciary has been adhering to those highest standards” , he sadi adding that there is no doubt that the judiciary has set for itself a high bar.

He said that justice gets further strengthened if the three institutions of the state namely, judiciary, legislature, and executive are in harmonious existence.

Mr Kovind hoped to see increased access to legal aid and advisory services for all. He said that it can take the form of a movement or a better-institutionalized mechanism. He also highlighted the issue of long pendency of cases, gender balance in the judiciary and spoke about appointments in the judiciary. He noted with pain some cases of disparaging remarks against the judiciary made on social media platforms and hoped that this is an aberration and would be short-lived.

Speaking about the cost of justice, the President said that in a developing country like ours, a very small section of the citizens can afford to knock on the doors of the court of justice. From lower courts to the Supreme Court, it becomes increasingly difficult for an average citizen to seek redressal of grievances. He said that there are individuals and also institutions that offer pro bono services. The Supreme Court too has taken praiseworthy steps in this direction. He wished to see increased access to legal aid and advisory services for all. He said that it can take the form of a movement or the form of a better institutionalised mechanism.

Pointing to the long pendency of cases, the President said that all stakeholders appreciate the enormity of this challenge and its implications. He said that he knew much has been written about it, and pertinent suggestions have been made to address the issue. Yet, the debate continues and the pendency keeps increasing too. Ultimately, the citizens and organisations that have grievances bear the brunt. The issue of pendency has ramifications for economic growth and development too.

Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana and Law Minister Kiren Rijiju were also present on the occasion.


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