Vice President delivers the Virendra Bhatia Memorial Lecture on Pillars of Democracy

New Delhi: The Vice President, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu today called for immediate and collective efforts by all stakeholders – the government, bar and the bench to reduce the heavy pendency of court cases in the country.

Delivering the Virendra Bhatia Memorial Lecture on Pillars of Democracy in New Delhi today, the Vice President said that “there can not be instant justice but there can not be constant delays either”. Otherwise people become restive and try to take law in their hands, he added.

To make judicial process more people friendly, Shri Naidu called for undertaking court proceedings in local languages so that people can understand it.

He also suggested that Supreme Court should have 2-3 benches across India. “No constitutional amendment is required for such a move”, he said, adding that currently people have to come to Delhi from all over India to file their cases. “They have to stay for many days in Delhi and it is expensive”, he added.

The Vice President also opined that there is a need to decide upon the certain category of cases in time-bound manner such as the election petitions and criminal cases against sitting MPs and MLAs.

He also called upon the presiding officers of legislative bodies to decide upon the disqualification proceedings under anti-defection law in a time-bound manner. “Judiciary should also give priority to such cases”, he stressed.

He expressed concerns that any delays in justice delivery in such cases erode public confidence in the judicial and legislative bodies.

Shri Naidu said that an efficient, the transparent, accessible and affordable judicial system is a key touchstone of good governance. It can improve ease of business as well as ease of living. It instills confidence in the government.

Commenting of the functioning of the legislature, the Vice President said that a general perception is building up that the quality of debates in the Parliament and the State legislature has been declining.

He appealed everyone in legislature to introspect to make constructive contributions for the welfare of society. “There is right to protest in democracy but not for obstructionism”, he added.

He asked the executive to give priority to the oppressed and to those living on the margins of society. People should be actively involved in not only drafting of various schemes and programs but also in their implementation, he emphasised.

Mentioning the four pillars of democracy- the Legislature, Executive, Judiciary and the Media, Shri Naidu said that each pillar must act within its domain but not lose sight of the larger picture.

“The strength of a democracy depends upon the strength of each pillar and the way pillars complement each other. Any shaky pillar weakens the democratic structure”, he said.

Shri M Venkaiah Naidu also stressed the need to bridge the many divides in our society by establishing an effective mechanism for every organ of the governance to perform to the best of abilities. Improving the quality of life of people and translating the Swarajya into Surajya must be our focus, he said.

Recalling Shri Virendra Bhatia’s contributions to nation as a practising lawyer, and as the member of Rajya Sabha, Shri Naidu said that Shri Bhatia had the rare distinction of holding all three important posts in the State of Uttar Pradesh namely- Advocate General of U.P., Chairman Bar Council of U.P. and the President of the High Court Oudh Bar Association on four occasions.

Justice Ashok Bhushan, Supreme Court of India, noted lawyer Shri Soli Sorabjee, Senior Advocates of the Supreme Court, Shri Rakesh Dwivedi and Shri Gaurav Bhatia were among the dignitaries who graced the occasion.