Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that every institution has to evolve in tune with the times, a statement that was seen as a veiled reference to continuance of the collegium system by the Supreme Court which had struck down the judicial appointments law.
He also suggested that rendering free legal aid to poor should be a criterion in selection of judges and that dedication and commitment of the administration in ensuring justice may open up “new ways”.
“No institution can remain static. Changes are inevitable in tune with the times. There is a need to change the way we think–old things are best and that is why we will not lay our hands on them is not the way,” he said.
Though the Prime Minister did not make any reference to the striking down of the NJAC Act by the Supreme Court, his remarks at a judicial forum were seen as a veiled reference to that subject.
He said the concept of Lok Adalat has been successful. But if we say there has been fulfilment, then there will be stagnation.
The Prime Minister was addressing a gathering of top judges, law officers and legal experts at the foundation day celebration of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) here with Justice T S Thakur, who is set to become the next Chief Justice, on the dais along with a few other judges.
Heaping praise on NALSA for extending free legal services to millions of people, Modi said “in every system, the boundary should expand consistently, its characteristics should keep changing and power should keep growing.”
Complimenting the free grievance redressal mechanism set up by the judiciary, Modi called it a “big thing” as nearly 8.5 crore pre-litigation and pending cases were solved by the Lok Adalats in last two decades and said it showed that how good the outcome could be if there was “out of box” thinking.
“It is a big thing. There is a strength of the system. If the government is also dedicated to justice, is alert towards it, then a way can be found,” he said, while emphasising the need to ensure justice to the poor and the downtrodden.