Senior Supreme Court judge NV Ramana on Monday, March 22, said the guarantee of equal justice would be rendered meaningless unless the weaker sections of society cannot exercise their rights due to poverty and illiteracy.
"Ever since we declared ourselves to be an independent country, we have found ourselves caught between the twin challenges of 'poverty and 'access to justice," Justice Ramana said.
While addressing the inauguration of Front offices and Legal aid Defense Counsel Office at Delhi, Justice Ramana said "access to justice" is more than a slogan."The idea of access to justice is deeply embedded in the Constitutional vision of justice and that in a democratic country like ours, access to justice forms the bedrock of the rule of law," Justice Ramana said.
He expressed disappointment over the fact that even after 74 years of independence, the same issues are still being debated. "Even if the reality was unfortunate, one must not be discouraged. Such debates must continue as long as we are a nation dealing with such dual realities,
Justice Ramana, the executive chairman of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), emphasised the importance of free legal assistance and encouraged lawyers to lend a helping hand to those who could not afford legal fees by providing them with free legal services as part of their social responsibility. Justice Ramana is set to be the next Chief Justice of India (CJI) next month.
Highlighting the legal services offered through legal services clinics, Justice Ramana said over a million people were provided legal assistance between November 2019 and February 2021 through legal services clinics while ₹218.81 crore was awarded as compensation during the same period under the Victim Compensation Scheme, Hindustan Times reported.