ACCESS TO JUSTICE (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     28th November 2023        
output themes

Context: Recently, the Chief Justice of India emphasized that access to justice is a right that cannot be secured by delivering pro-people verdicts alone and must be complemented by meaningful administrative steps.

Access to Justice

  • About: Access to justice is a basic right that guarantees protection of law to all. It is integral to rule of law.
  • Evolution: In the past, access to justice primarily denoted an individual's formal right to engage in legal proceedings, either as a litigant or a defendant.
  • Natural Rights and State Action: The traditional view held that access to justice, being a natural right, did not necessitate active involvement or intervention by the state.
  • Dual Purposes of the Legal System: The term "access to justice" directs attention to the fundamental goals of the legal system.
  • It serves as a mechanism for individuals to assert their rights and resolve disputes, operating under the overarching authority of the state.
  • Formal Access to Justice: Involves the adjudication of disputes through court proceedings, adhering to established civil and criminal procedures.
  • Informal Access to Justice: Encompasses alternative dispute resolution methods like arbitration, conciliation, mediation, Lok Adalats, and Nyaya Panchayats.

Constitutional Provisions

  • Preamble: The Preamble ensures social, economic, and political justice as well as equality of status and opportunity for every citizen of India.
  • Article 14: Within the territory of India, the state is prohibited from denying any person equality before the law and equal protection of the law.
  • Article 21: Guarantees the protection of life and personal liberty.
  • Article 39A: the State to ensure that the legal system promotes justice based on equal opportunity.