Excessive litigation cost major hurdle in justice delivery: President

New Delhi | Updated: 28 November, 2022 4:45 pm IST
president Droupadi Murmu
President Droupadi Murmu speaking at an event in New Delhi.

President Droupadi Murmu has put the spotlight on the excessive cost of litigation as a major impediment to the delivery of justice in India, stating that thousands of people from downtrodden communities linger in jails.

Speaking at an event to mark Constitution Day, the President urged the executive, judiciary and legislature to evolve an effective dispute resolution mechanism to mitigate the plight of people.

Narrating an incident during her tenure as an MLA in Odisha, President Murmu said that she visited several jails in the state and found that so many people were languishing in jails because their families could not afford the cost of a legal battle.

“Such people are not aware of their rights, duties and the law. They spent years in jail because they are unable to pay for the legal cost,” she said, adding that many people go to jails for petty crimes but could not come out.

She said that many people go to jail for petty crimes like brawls or manhandling. “When I was serving as a Governor of Jharkhand, I came across many cases wherein poor people continue to languish in prisons,” she said, attributing such crimes to drinking habits in tribal areas of the country.

The event was attended by Union law and justice minister Kiren Rijiju and Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud.

She called upon policymakers and the judiciary to come up with a solution to address of problem in the delivery of justice. “All three pillars of democracy – the executive, legislature, and judiciary should work in tandem,” the President remarked.

President Murmu argued that India does not need more jails, but it needs to free up prisons through the speedy resolution of cases.

“There are talks that we need to build more jails because existing jails are overcrowded. When we, as a civilisation, are moving ahead, we are talking about more jails. It does not sound good,” she concluded.

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