STATE TIMES NEWS NEW DELHI: The “single system of laws” is the greatest need for environmental issues as they are not hindered by national and international borders, Chief Justice of India (CJI) S A Bobde said on Sunday. Speaking at the valedictory session of the International Judges’ Conference on ‘Judiciary and the Changing World’, the CJI also referred to the challenges faced by the judiciary and said the constitutions are not meant “only to check people in power but also empower those who have been deprived of it”. Referring to commonality of environmental issues, Justice Bobde said, “Environmental issues cannot be hindered by national and international borders. Water and wind flow seamlessly across the earth and even under it. The growth of vegetation affects animals and man, and a man affects both”. “Perhaps there is the greatest need for single system of laws in this regard. It is said that human beings are seeds as well as parasites to the earth. We take much more than we give back to the earth,” he said. The “commitment to dispensation of justice” is the common thread which binds judges across the world, he said, adding that the common challenge before the judiciary globally was to ensure “a gender just world”. Justice Bobde said that “judiciary is the guardian of constitutional values and serves to counter-balance populist forces in a commitment to the rule of law”.
The inherent role of the judiciary to take active measures to “women within the judicial fold”.
“We have learnt from the illuminating session on the judiciary and gender justice that incremental measures are only the first step towards championing the cause of gender equality,” he said.
He said the Indian Supreme Court is responsible for upholding the rights of over 1.3 billion people and has been providing copies of its judgements in nine vernacular languages as desired by President Ram Nath Kovind.
“We have more approximately 17,500 courts. In a country where over 22 languages and several thousand dialects are spoken, the Supreme Court has mandated the translation of its judgments into nine languages,” he said, adding “The provision of judgments in vernacular languages makes accessible to people from diverse linguistic backgrounds.”
He said the judgements of the Supreme Court have been cited by four other courts of the world and India has served as a “beacon of hope” to independent and developing nations.He said that
“As we look to the future, a significant consideration in the delivery of justice is the protection and preservation of the environment in the dispensation of justice. In one of the cases before us, we have held that ‘The present generation has no right to impede the safety and wellbeing of the next generation or the generation to come thereafter’,” he said.
The CJI referred to utilisation of technology in facilating delivery of justice in remote parts of India.
“In India, we are utilising technology in innovative ways to facilitate and assist the delivery of justice. Indian courts are located across the length and breadth of our vast country.
“As part of the e-Courts project in India, we have ensured that no matter where a judicial officer is located, from the remote mountain tops of the Himalayas to the sandy beaches of Kerala, they are electronically connected to the national judicial data grid,” he said.
He said that smart phone technology and telecommunications connectivity can be used to streamline delivery of service and summons.
The CJI said that the Indian judiciary is exploring the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate simple tasks associated with the administration of justice.
“With the speed of reading 1 million characters per second, the volume of any data for any purpose whether research or analysis, becomes easy to deal with. But it must be treated as a tool and its introduction into the judicial system must be done with hesitation and caution,” he said.
He said use of AI “probably never will” negate the human supremacy.
Referring to benefits of globalisation, he said that however, it has posed “the greatest challenges to the judiciaries” across the world also.
“The widespread use of technology has also brought with it concerns over mass data collection and an individual’s right to privacy,” he said.
“I hope that in the future, not only will this conference become a regular feature of the judicial calendar across the world, but a shining symbol of a global network of guardians against injustice,” the CJI said in his concluding remarks.
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