Study And Apply Indian Schools Of Interpretation: Justice CD Singh On Decolonisation Of Indian Legal System
Justice Chandra Dhari Singh has said that decolonisation of the Indian Legal System is an important pillar to shun all the relics of colonialism.
He has said that judges and lawyers should resolve to make all efforts to Indianise the legal system by studying Indian schools of interpretation and applying them in pleading, arguments and judgments.
“Today, dear friends, is a momentous occasion when India is celebrating its 75 th year of Indian Independence – Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, where we as Indians have steadfastly resolved to become a developed nation and to shun all the relics of colonialism.
Decolonisation of the Indian Legal System is an important pillar for achieving this milestone. Therefore, let us as judges and lawyers resolve that we shall make all efforts to Indianise our legal system. One step that can be undertaken by each one of us today is by studying our Indian schools of interpretation and applying them in our pleading, arguments and judgments.”, Justice Chandra Dhari Singh said.
He said that the principles of interpretation that are applied in Indian Courts today are that of Western jurists like Maxwell and Craies. He stated that Mimansa Principles followed by renowned jurists like Vijnaneshwara (author of Mitakshara), and Jimutavahana (author of Dayabhag) can be applied today.
"The principles of interpretation that are applied in our Courts today are that of the Western jurists like Maxwell and Craies. However, in our country we had developed from very early times a scientific system of interpretation known as the Mimansa Principles and these were regularly followed by our renowned jurists like Vijnaneshwara (author of Mitakshara), and Jimutavahana (author of Dayabhag). Most of these principles are rational and scientific and can very well be applied even today.", Justice Chandra Dhari Singh said.
Legal Literacy and Legal Aid
Justice Chandra Dhari Singh has said that legal literacy is an important facet of empowerment for an ordinary citizen. He further added that an increase in legal literacy ultimately develops into a transparent and accountable Government.
“Legal Literacy is an important facet of empowerment for an ordinary citizen. Government programmes alone, however well intentioned, may not be able to break the barriers built over the centuries during the colonial period. For major social reformation, efforts are required to bring about a change in the society. Increase in legal literacy ultimately develops into a transparent and accountable Government and upholds the rule of Law.”, he said while speaking at Adhivakta Parishad held at New Delhi.
Justice Chandra Dhari Singh also said that legal aid and legal literacy are two schemes of paramount importance that must reach the doorsteps of the underprivileged.
He stated that if we as officers of law and the Court consciously perform our duties while keeping in mind the needs and aspirations of the last person in the society - the poor, downtrodden, deprived human beings - that they are made aware of their rights and remedies, that they can avail justice easily and timely which will ensure a dignified life for them.
Justice Chandra Dhari Singh was invited as the Chief Guest at an event organised by Adhivakta Parishad, held on January 11, 2023. Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma also spoke at the event.
Condition of Legal Education
While speaking on the legal system in India, he expressed concern over the condition of legal education including the status of infrastructure in law colleges.
“There are law colleges where you do not have sufficient faculty, no classrooms, no library, etc. It is unfortunate that we as judges are being constrained to remark that there are law colleges where you have to just go and pay the fees, the rest is taken care of. It is surprising to state that how can the legal profession or how can we as stakeholders of legal education tolerate this kind of situation. It is a great responsibility cast upon the Bar Council of India to shut down such institutions.”, he said.
Earlier Justice Chandra Dhari Singh had directed the Bar Council of India to constitute special expert teams to conduct surprise visits of the colleges that lack minimum infrastructure and adequate facilities.
He had said that if any colleges were found to be lacking minimum infrastructural facilities, then the BCI must take immediate steps to close such colleges.
He also said that Commercialization of education is another bane. He remarked that any attempts at commercialisation of education especially that of legal education while imperilling the qualitative imparting of education must be derided and frowned upon.
Bar and Bench
He also spoke about the instances where scathing remarks were made against the judicial officers.
“Judges speak through their judgments. At times, unfortunately unwarranted and scathing remarks are made against the judicial officers making imputations and allegations that ultimately undermine the Office and authority while at the same time, damaging the trust reposed by the citizenry in the Institution of Judiciary.”, Justice Chandra Dhari Singh said.
He further added that a lawyer should abstain from commenting on the case on which he has argued. He added that the lawyer should always voice out his concern against an order or judgement in appeal, revision or review before the concerned forum and not otherwise in public.
Justice Chandra Dhari Singh said that the members of the legal fraternity have a dominant role in ensuring that the justice delivery system functions free from fear or favour, and the faith of the public in institutions is protected.
He further added that the advocate must ensure that they do not conceal anything from the court and must represent the facts and law as they are.
He stated that the members of Bar, the Bench and the legislative bodies must collectively work towards making the administration of justice more affordable and accessible to ordinary citizens by simplifying the justice delivery system.
Judicial Impact Assessment
He also spoke about the need for introducing the concept of Judicial Impact Assessment.
"One unique concept that I would like to discuss with you today is that of Judicial Impact Assessment. While the introduction of Environmental Impact Assessment has paved the way towards a greater level of consciousness about justice towards the environment. We also similarly require a Judicial Impact Assessment for our laws. Judicial Impact Assessment simply means analysing the likely cost of implementing a legislation through the courts and helping deliver timely justice to litigants.", he said.
He further added "Litigation demand depends on a variety of factors most of which are not factored in the making of laws. This results in the court system being left with little or no extra resources to cope with additional cases generated by new laws. This is the main reason why despite increased disposals every year, courts are still crowded with mounting arrears of cases. With “One institute, One law” - engaging our bright young law students in these projects to audit these legislations will be a brilliant initiative, with each law school taking up one major legislation to study."