Maintaining that the Supreme Court has made a constant endeavour to ensure access to justice for everyone, Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud on Saturday said there are no big or small cases for the court and that every matter is important.
Speaking at the 73rd anniversary of the establishment of the Supreme Court, he said every day, the Supreme Court has hundreds of cases on its docket and the judges and the staff of the Registry put up tremendous hard work to ensure their speedy disposal.
CJI Chandrachud said the top court disposed of 12,471 cases in the last three months.
”For the court, there are no big or small cases – every matter is important. Because it is in the seemingly small and routine matters involving grievances of citizens that issues of constitutional and jurisprudential importance emerge. In attending to such grievances, the court performs a plain constitutional duty, obligation and function,” he said.
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Between March 23, 2020, and October 30, 2022, the apex court heard 3.37 lakh cases through video conferencing, he said.
”We updated our video conferencing infrastructure at meta scale. We are continuing to use technological infrastructure for a hybrid mode of hearing that allows parties from any part of the country to join the court proceedings,” CJI Chandrachud said.
He said the Supreme Court serves the world’s most populous democracy and is in true aspects a ”people’s court” because it is a collective heritage of the people of India.
He said the Supreme Court’s jurisprudential approach has been evolving and in the past few years, the court has furthered the transformative vision of the Constitution by recognising and protecting fundamental rights such as the right to privacy, decisional autonomy, and sexual and reproductive choices.
”Our court has emerged as a strong proponent of gender equality whether it be in its interpretation of the laws of inheritance or securing the entry of women in the armed forces.
”The court has also ensured that the criminal justice administration is not de-linked from the framework of human rights,” he said.
CJI Chandrachud said the court has sought to use the language of the Constitution to humanize law and act as the protector and defender of fundamental rights and liberties.
”The Supreme Court has made a constant endeavour to ensure access to justice for everyone. The court has facilitated increased access to justice by dilution of the requirement of locus standi through public interest litigation in the 1980s, i.e. anyone can approach the constitutional courts in India to seek redressal of a violation of the fundamental rights of any person.
”By doing so, the court opened its door to persons bereft of means to approach the courts because of their social and economic disadvantage. This has provided a space for citizens to converse with the state on equal terms. In turn, the court has been using its jurisdiction to make the rule of law a daily reality for persons belonging to marginalized communities,” he said.
The CJI said the history of the Supreme Court is the history of the daily life struggles of the Indian people.
”Mentioning list every morning in the court of Chief Justice spans anywhere between 60-100 cases. Through these seemingly requests, we can sense the pulse of the nation. Above all, message in this uniquely citizen-centric initiative is an assurance that the court exists to protect our citizens from injustice, their liberties are as precious to us and that the judges work in close connect with our citizens,” he said.
The 73rd anniversary event was graced by Chief Justice of Singapore Sundaresh Menon, who spoke on the ”role of judiciary in a changing world”.
The Supreme Court came into existence on January 28, 1950, two days after India became a republic.