Constitution Day: Ravi Shankar Prasad unhappy over SC’s criticism, asks people not to use terms like judicial barbarism

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New Delhi: Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Thursday expressed unhappiness over unleashing of criticism of the Supreme Court for its judicial functions and asked people not to use expressions like “judicial barbarism” in criticising judgements or orders. Speaking at the Constitution Day celebrations organised by the Supreme Court, he said “there may be shortcomings, but we need to be proud of our judiciary as it has held the hands of the poor and the underprivileged.”

“Of late there has been a disturbing trend. Some people have a view as to how on a particular case filed the judgement should be. Then there are narratives in newspapers and campaign in social media as to what kind of judgement should have come. Very gently I must comment today that the expressions like judicial barbarism is totally unacceptable. Regardless of the stature of those who mentioned these things about our judiciary,” Prasad said at the function in which President Ram Nath Kovind delivered the inaugural address.

The Law Minister said if the judiciary has to be independent then the judges have to be left free and the justice delivery system cannot play to the gallery.

Prasad said the coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone and asked people to pledge that vaccine will be first provided to the healthcare workers who have been at the frontlines.

He said till October, the top court heard nearly 30,000 cases digitally during the pandemic whereas nearly 50 lakh cases in total have been heard digitally across all the courts.

Prasad congratulated the judges for rising to the occasion during the pandemic and continuing the work despite great inhibiting circumstances.

Chief Justice S A Bobde said the judiciary has worked hard through the pandemic and its commitment to ensuring that access of justice is maintained to all the citizens.

The Indian Supreme Court has fared far better than to courts of other countries, he said.

Bobde said he would like to address the President as a person who has been undeniably the most popular advocate of India.

He said the courts have faced some unprecedented challenges during the pandemic and the choice was very clear — either to switch to virtual conferencing or to shut down the courts completely.

The court had to deal with difficult situations pertaining to migrants, woeful situations of dead bodies of dying men and women….etc, he said.

“The decision was taken to simply release prisoners, even those undergoing incarceration in detention centres in Assam. The hearings of video conferencing have given rise to a new issue of inequalities and these are extremely difficult to deal with,” he said.

Attorney General K K Venugopal suggested that there should be four intermediate courts of appeal with 15 judges each in the four corners of the country for ensuring access to justice by all.

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