Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana on Friday said Jammu and Kashmir is a confluence of three great religions – Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam.
Speaking at the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the new complex of Jammu and Kashmir High Court in Srinagar, the CJI, quoting poet and admirer of Kashmir Raja Basu, said “It is this confluence, which is at the heart of our plurality and needs to be sustained and cherished.”
The CJI highlighted the importance of district judiciary in the justice dispensation system and urged the Judges of district judiciary to opt for alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
“I would especially urge the District Judiciary to always keep this in mind. You are at the grassroot level, and are the first contact for the justice seeker with the judicial system.
“You have a direct link with the people. You must persuade parties to choose ADR mechanisms whenever possible. This will not only help the parties, but also will help in reduction of pendency,” he said.
For the functioning of a healthy democracy, it is imperative that the people feel that their rights and dignity are protected and recognised, the CJI emphasised.
Expeditious adjudication of disputes is the hallmark of a healthy democracy. Denial of justice would ultimately lead to anarchy. Soon the institution of judiciary would be destabilised as people will look for extrajudicial mechanisms, the CJI said.
“Peace shall only prevail, when people’s dignity and rights are recognised and protected,” he added.
He also opined that the country is far behind in making the Courts inclusive and accessible and if we don’t attend to this urgently, the Constitutional ideal of access to justice would stand defeated.
“…the condition of judicial infrastructure across the country is far from satisfactory. Courts are operating from rented accommodations and under deplorable conditions.”
Jammu and Kashmir, he said, currently has the advantage of 100 percent funding by the Central government and it should work in a coordinated manner to fill the gaps.
“I hope that the New Court premises, spread around 1.7 lakh square meters, with an estimated cost of Rs 310 crore, having all modern facilities and amenities, becomes the new norm for construction of future court buildings. I am happy to note that the culture and architecture of this land find reflection in the proposed project,” he stated.