Jaipur: The Union Law Minister Kiran Rijiju and Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot have voiced against the hefty fees of Supreme Court lawyers and said that how can a common man afford it. Rijjiu said "Those who are resourceful and rich hire high-paid advocates who charge Rs 10-15 lakh for one hearing but the common man cannot afford them." While, Gehlot said that the fees of lawyers are so high that the poor man cannot go to the Supreme Court.
Both were addressing the inaugural session of the 18th All India Legal Services Authority meet in Jaipur on Saturday. The two-day meet is being organised by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).
In the presence of the CJI NV Ramana and judges of the High Courts across the country, Gehlot even said that many judges give their verdict by looking at the face of the lawyers. ‘There should be a limit to the fee as well. One crore, 80 lakh, 50 lakh rupees. Don't know what is happening in the country? I had raised this point once in the meeting of the Chief Justice also. Think about this situation as well. Make a committee. There must be some way,’ said Gehlot.
Gehlot also commented on the concern of judges and senior officers of their post-retirement benefits and said "Four Supreme Court judges said democracy is in danger and later one of them became CJI, I had asked the President, was he right before or is he right now? This is beyond my understanding. Then he became a Member of Parliament."
While Kiren Rijiju said ‘there are many lawyers in the Supreme Court in Delhi, whom the common man cannot afford. If a lawyer charges 10 lakh, 15 lakh rupees for hearing in each case. No court should be for influential people only. This is a matter of concern for us. I always believe that the door of justice should always be open to all equally.’
Rijiju asserted that regional and local languages should be promoted in proceedings at lower and high courts.
The minister said that the mother tongue should not be considered lesser than English and asserted that he does not subscribe to the view that a lawyer should get more respect, cases or fees only because he speaks more in English.
"If I have a problem speaking in English, I should have the liberty to speak my mother tongue. I am not in favour that those who speak much English should get more respect, more cases or more fees. I am against it," said Rijiju.
Expressing concern over the rising number of pending cases in the country, he said such cases are going to be 5 crores but the pendency can be reduced with coordination between the judiciary and the government. He said that the target should be to reduce 2 crore cases in two years.
Addressing the conference Chief Justice of India N V Ramana on Saturday said ‘We need a holistic plan of action, to increase the efficiency of the administration of criminal justice. Training and sensitization of the police and modernization of the prison system is one facet of improving the administration of criminal justice:
He said that in the criminal justice system, the process is the punishment.
From indiscriminate arrest to difficulty in obtaining bail, the process leading to prolonged incarceration of under trials needs urgent attention.
He said that a grave issue affecting the criminal justice system is the high population of under trial prisoners. The CJI informed that out of 6.10 lakh prisoners in the country, nearly 80 percent are under trials.
He said that civil disputes, family disputes can be resolved with alternate methods, by using the services of NALSA, from Lok Adalats to mediation, and the same can also reduce the burden on courts.