Chief Justice of Bharat, Shri D.Y. Chandrachud ji, Union Law Minister and my colleague Shri Arjun Ram Meghwal ji, Lord Chancellor of the UK, Mr Alex Chalk, Attorney General, Solicitor General, and all the esteemed judges of the Supreme Court, Chairman and members of the Bar Council, representatives from various countries, delegates from states, and respected ladies and gentlemen!
Meeting renowned figures from the legal fraternity worldwide and having the opportunity to be in their presence is a delightful experience for me. People from all parts of Bharat are present here today. The Lord Chancellor of England and the delegates from the Bar Associations of England are also among us for this conference. Representatives from Commonwealth and African countries are participating as well. In a way, this International Lawyers’ Conference has become a symbol of Bharat’s sentiment of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the world is one family). I warmly welcome all the international guests who have come to attend this event in Bharat. I extend special congratulations to the Bar Council of India, which is wholeheartedly fulfilling the responsibility of organizing this event.
The legal fraternity of any country plays a significant role in its development. In Bharat, for years, the judiciary and the Bar have been the guardians of the legal system in the country. I want to convey something special to our foreign guests here today. Just a short while ago, Bharat celebrated 75 years of its independence, and legal professionals played a crucial role in this fight for freedom. In the struggle for independence, many lawyers left their legal practices to join the national movement. Our revered Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, the chief architect of our Constitution, Babasaheb Ambedkar, the country’s first President, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the country’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the country’s first Home Minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and many other great personalities during the time of independence were lawyers themselves be it Lokmanya Tilak or Veer Savarkar. This means that the experience of legal professionals strengthened the foundation of independent Bharat. And today, as the world’s trust in Bharat continues to grow, Bharat’s impartial and independent judicial system also plays a significant role in that trust.
Today, this conference is taking place at a time when Bharat has witnessed several historic decisions. Just a day ago, the Parliament of the country passed a law reserving 33 percent of seats for women in both the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabhas (State Assemblies). The Nari Shakti Vandan Adhiniyam will chart a new direction and bring new energy to women-led development in Bharat.
Just a few days ago, the world saw glimpses of our democracy, demography, and our diplomacy during the historic G20 Summit. A month ago, on this very day, Bharat became the first country in the world to reach near the South Pole of the moon. Brimming with confidence from these achievements, Bharat is working diligently towards its goal of a developed country by 2047. To achieve this goal, Bharat undoubtedly needs a strong, impartial, and independent judicial system as its foundation. I believe that the International Lawyers’ Conference will prove to be very beneficial for Bharat in this direction. I hope that all nations can learn from each other’s best practices during this conference.
In the 21st century, we live in a deeply connected world. Every legal mind or institution is highly vigilant about its jurisdiction. However, there are many forces against which we are fighting that do not care about borders or jurisdictions. And when threats are global, the approach to dealing with them should also be global. Whether it’s cyber terrorism, money laundering, artificial intelligence, or its misuse, there are many issues where cooperation requires a global framework. It’s not merely a matter for any one government or administration. To address these challenges, the legal frameworks of different countries need to come together, just as we collaborate for air traffic control. No one says, ‘Your laws are yours, and my laws are mine, and I don’t care.’ In that case, no plane will land anywhere. Everyone adheres to common rules and regulations, protocols. In the same way, we need to establish a global framework in various domains. The International Lawyers’ Conference should undoubtedly delve into this direction, and give a new direction to the world.
An important topic of discussion at this conference is Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR), as Tushar ji has elaborated upon. Along with the increasing complexity of commercial transactions, ADR is gaining momentum worldwide. I’ve been informed that this conference will extensively cover this subject. In Bharat, we have had a tradition of resolving disputes through Panchayats for centuries; it’s ingrained in our culture. Our government has also enacted the Mediation Act to formalize this informal system. Additionally, the system of Lok Adalats (People’s Courts) in Bharat has been a significant means of resolving disputes. I recall that during my tenure as Chief Minister in Gujarat, the cost of resolving an average case was only 35 paise until justice was delivered. This system is prevalent in our country. In the past six years, approximately 7 lakh cases have been resolved in Lok Adalats.
Another significant aspect of justice delivery, which is often not discussed enough, is the simplicity of language and law. Now, we are also contemplating presenting the law in two ways: one in the language that you all are familiar with, and another in a language that an ordinary person from our country can understand. An ordinary person should also consider the law as his own. We are making efforts and I am also trying to bring about this change. Even though the system has been ingrained in the same framework, it might take some time to reform it. But, I have the time, and I will continue working on it. The language in which laws are written and the language in which court proceedings take place play a significant role in ensuring justice. In the past, drafting any law used to be very complex. However, as a government, as I said earlier, we are striving to simplify it as much as possible and make it available in as many languages of the country as we can. We are sincerely working in that direction.
You must have seen the Data Protection Law. We have also started the process of simplification in that, and I firmly believe that it will be convenient for the common person with those definitions. I believe that this is a significant change in the judicial system of the country. I had once publicly commended Justice Chandrachud ji because he said that from now on, the operative part of a court judgment will be made available in the language of the litigant. Look, it took 75 years even for this small step, and I had to intervene in it too. I would also like to congratulate the Supreme Court of India for translating its judgments into many local languages. This will greatly help the common people of the country. Half the illness gets cured if a doctor talks to his patient in his language. Here, we have similar progress to make.
We should continuously work on improving legal procedures through technology, reforms, and new judicial practices. Technological advancements have created significant avenues for the judiciary system. In fact, technological advancements have given a tremendous boost to our trade, investment, and commerce sectors. Therefore, individuals associated with the legal profession should also embrace these technological reforms. I hope that the International Lawyers’ Conference will be instrumental in increasing the confidence of legal systems worldwide. I extend my best wishes to everyone involved in this successful program. Thank you very much.
Addressing the International Lawyers' Conference 2023. https://t.co/2QfSQodarD— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 23, 2023
भारत में वर्षों से Judiciary और Bar भारत की न्याय व्यवस्था के संरक्षक रहे हैं। pic.twitter.com/FfNi0nd221— PMO India (@PMOIndia) September 23, 2023
Legal Professionals के अनुभव ने आजाद भारत की नींव को मजबूत करने का काम किया। pic.twitter.com/uKILNrw8vG— PMO India (@PMOIndia) September 23, 2023
नारीशक्ति वंदन कानून भारत में Women Led Development को नई दिशा देगा, नई ऊर्जा देगा। pic.twitter.com/fQVBL1XMnI— PMO India (@PMOIndia) September 23, 2023
जब खतरे ग्लोबल हैं, तो उनसे निपटने का तरीका भी ग्लोबल होना चाहिए। pic.twitter.com/iWQiEREtPN— PMO India (@PMOIndia) September 23, 2023