Low conviction rate basis of public outcry, says Supreme Court judge at Law Day, organised by the Symbiosis Law College

Source : Times of India

PUNE: Low conviction rate is the basis of public outcry in the country, said justice Jasti Chelameswar, Supreme Court judge, in his key note address at Law Day, organised by the Symbiosis Law College on Sunday.

Referring to people's reaction over the Delhi gang rape case, Chelameswar said that unsatisfactory outcome of judicial procedures could be due to reasons like ineffective evidence gathering by the investigating agency. He said that at times witnesses turn hostile which helps acquittal of criminals. "They (witnesses) may turn hostile due to threat to self and family or maybe for avoiding repeated calls to the court," he said.

"Earlier, possessing a photographic memory was one of the important pre-requisites for anyone who wanted to become a lawyer. However, the scene has completely changed over the years. Instead of a photographic memory, a lawyer today requires an analytical mind to see through the problem besides knowledge of all the branches of human activity," the judge said.

Senior advocate and member of Rajya Sabha Ram Jethmalani spoke about the importance of judicial review in contemporary India and about decentralised Supreme Court with benches in the rest of India. He talked about how speedy justice should not be compromised but at the same time one should not forget that "justice hurried is justice buried".

Jethmalani talked about the importance of secularism and how it has been politically abused. He stressed on the role of students of law in reforming the Indian legal system through active social and political participation.

Former Supreme Court judge Justice C K Thakker delivered the 'Y V Chandrachud memorial public lecture'. The topic was "Rethinking Power of Judicial review in the Indian Context?". Thakker urged the audience to rethink on various contemporary and conventional issues through open-ended questions.

"Locus Standi as a rule of law indicated that the aggrieved party brings about a cause of action against the accused; but with the development of law, especially with the presence of article 32 and 226 of the Constitution of India, the scope and extent has been widened and a person having sufficient stand; in the interest of public can also file a case," Thakker said.

Supreme Court judge Justice Madan Lokur also emphasized on judicial review. "Total 60% of the pending cases emerged from adjudication done by people not trained in law such as labour disputes, service matters and customs," Lokur said.

Lokur mentioned various reasons that lead to pendency of litigations in courts. He recalled his personal experience as to the feedback given to him that people had an average of 8,000-12,000 cases in their courts and the solution to reducing this burden would be the appointment of more judges as many mediators and conciliators lack legal expertise in solving such cases.

"Law should not be viewed in isolation. It is dynamic and not static and thus must adapt to the changing trends of society," Lokur said.

Founder president of Symbiosis International (Deemed University) S B Mujumdar spoke about the origin and importance of law and the ramification it carries on all aspects of society. He further spoke about lawyers in Pune who through their sheer dedication and hard work became judges and justices of the Bombay High court.

To celebrate the 150 years of Bombay High Court, judges of Bombay High Court including justice J A Patil, justice S P Davare, and justice Sadhana Jadhav an alumnus of Symbiosis Law School, Pune, were felicitated. This was followed by the presenting of advocate Ram Jethmalani trophy and a cash prize of Rs 50,000 to Aayush Kumar a 5th year law student who secured highest marks in the subject 'evidence law'.

Shashikala Gurpur, director, SLS, highlighted the academic and extra-curricular achievements of students and the faculty over the last one year.