Access to justice will remain an illusion if it is not made available at affordable prices.
Civil society organisations, governments, legal associations, students, activists around the world celebrate July 17th as World Day for International Justice.
This day marks the 19th anniversary of the adoption of Rome Statute in 1998 which aims to protect people from crimes against humanity, genocide, war crimes and the crime of aggression.
Access to justice is a fundamental right guaranteed to citizens of India by Article 14 and Article 21 of Constitution of India. The government has undertaken various initiatives to steer clear of the judicial logjam and provide speedy delivery of justice. Access to justice is delivered through the adjudicatory mechanism whether that is called by the name of Court, Tribunal, Commission, Authority or called by any other name whatsoever, where a citizen can agitate his grievance and can seek adjudication of what he may perceive as breach of his rights, and he is able to get the relief for the wrong that is perpetrated against him.
Access to justice will remain an illusion if it is not made available at affordable prices. Justice should be available so that even the poorest of the poor are able to access it.
The cost of justice includes fees paid to the lawyers, filing charges and cost of litigation, etc.
Following are the few initiatives that were taken by the government to ease the process of justice-
1. Ease in filing a complaint– With the aim of encouraging people to file more complaints and report a crime, the government has simplified the way a person can file complaint. With increasing digitalisation, you can now file a consumer complaint and FIR online.
2. Right to Information Act to make the system transparent– To promote transparency in the system the government enables citizens to file an RTI by just giving a fee of Rs 10. By filing an RTI you can seek any information from the government. For instance, State Information Commission, Haryana has directed the Department of Town and Country Planning (DTCP) and Educational Institutions to display information on the grant of free education by Educational Institutions.
3. Exemplary compensation– Recently in a judgment, the Bombay High Court directed the State of Maharashtra to pay at least Rs 2 lakh as compensation to one Ranjit Singh Gill for keeping him in jail, three years above his actual sentence. In another case, the Consumer Forum has awarded a compensation of INR 4.5 lakh to the distressed patient whose kidney was removed without his permission.
4. Free legal Aid– Article 39A of the Constitution of India promote a laudable of providing legal aid to needy litigants and obliges the state to make access to justice affordable for less fortunate people of the society.
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