Judicial reforms must ensure speedy, timely justice: Gaurav Bhatia

BJP national spokesperson says country needs revolution of justice

GN Bureau | December 19, 2020


#farmer protests   #Narendra Modi   #judicial reforms   #law   #judiciary   #BJP   #agriculture  


Expressing regret over long trials of court cases in India and acknowledging that the justice delivery system in the country needs reforms, Gaurav Bhatia, BJP national spokesperson, has said that the justice delivery system needs a revolution in the country.

“Can we call ourselves a vibrant nation if we cannot guarantee our citizens time-bound justice? If there is one revolution needed in the country it is revolution of justice,” said Bhatia. He was speaking to Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now, while in a live webcast of the Visionary Talk series, held by the public policy and governance analysis platform.

Bhatia said that every person cherishes his own honor and expressed confidence that with historic steps taken by prime minister Narendra Modi the country hopes to see a justice evolution. “I am confident that that with law and justice minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who is a lawyer himself, and PM Narendra Modi, both will definitely usher in reforms that will enable more robust and time dispensing  system,” he said.

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Bhatia who is also a supreme court lawyer, however, pointed out that that in Covid-19 pandemic the judiciary, right from the Supreme court to trial courts, adapted to e-hearings when no such concept existed earlier. Thousands and thousands of cases were heard online. He added that even when most supreme court judges are above the age of 60 years and vulnerable to infection, judges of various courts have been working so that urgent matters are heard. The government also provided support to the judiciary as it concerns citizens.

While responding to a question on the farmers agitation going on currently, he pointed out that even though the MS Swaminathan Commission report of 2006 recommended increasing MSP (minimum support price) to 1.5 times for farmers, it was never implemented for eight years. Prime minister Modi took a historic step by increasing to 1.5 times.

While speaking on passing of the three farm laws - the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, he said, these Acts provide for alternate  market  to the farmers even as the mandi system continues.

“The Act does not abolish the mandi system. In addition to the mandi system, Section 8 and section 15 of the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act says that under no circumstances the land of farmers can be linked with an agreement and there cannot be any recovery of dues of the farmers. This is the essence which protects farmers interests,” said Bhatia.      

On stiff opposition by political parties, he said meaningful dialogue is a sign of vibrant democracy but parties like AAP, NCP, Akali Dal and SP took a U turn. Bhatia added that the 2019 manifesto of Congress said that it will repeal APMC, but its Hindi version says it will amend it.

“Other political parties too had been advocating this for decades but never did anything about it. Despite the fact that this has been a longstanding demand, there is bound to be opposition in certain classes when you pass a historic reform. Today they have a problem not with the provisions of the Act but the fact that these reforms will strengthen the position of Narendra Modi and win the hearts of farmers, so they are opposing it. This kind of politics has to end,” he said.

Bhatia further added that with 14-15 crore farmer families in the country, India is an agrarian economy and maximum numbers of farmers in the country are in the states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. “While some protestors are farmers, others are vested interests. The government is engaging in a meaningful dialogue with them," he said.      

 

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