The deadline to send views on the Uniform Civil Code ended last week. The Law Commission has so far received nearly 46 lakh responses, well below expectations. On June 14, it had initiated a fresh consultation process on the Code by seeking views from stakeholders, including public and recognised religious organisations, on the politically sensitive issue. Is the Code anywhere becoming a reality?
The chief justice of India recently highlighted the use of digital technologies the Indian judiciary is experimenting with to make the judicial system more transparent, efficient and accessible. When it comes to free legal aid, however, access to law and justice through digital technologies has limited possibilities. The Pro bono Lawyering programme was launched in 2017 to achieve access to justice for all. However, pro bono lawyering has not yet become an alternative means to foster access to justice in spite of the IT revolution under Digital India.
A judgment of the Punjab & Haryana High Court has given an impetus to gender justice. While some personal laws and the CrPC have helped in “maintenance jurisprudence”, the deeper malaise of society has to be tackled.
Access to law is a pre-condition for access to justice. In order to realise this, regional languages should also be used as the language of law as proposed by the Law Minister and the Chief Justice of India.
The predominance of English as legal language disempowers the masses as there is a gap between folk and official language. It only enables the elite to expropriate the business of law. This is antithetical to the spirit of democracy.