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CJI SA Bobde favours pre-litigation mediation to avoid delay in justice

BENGALURU: As justice delayed is justice denied, Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde on Saturday favoured pre-litigation mediation in judiciary.

“Pre-litigation mediation is the need of the hour to avoid delaying justice and for early disposal of pending cases, which are mounting,” the Supreme Court’s top judge said at a judicial meet here.

Observing that the powers under Section 89 of the Civil Procedure Code (settlement of disputes outside the court) were not sufficiently utilized, Bobde said the top court tried to settle the Ayodhya dispute through mediation before deciding through a verdict due to lack of consensus among the parties involved in the age-old dispute.

“Therefore, mediation is very important to be brought into the judicial system, as it does not affect the earning prospects of the bar with trained lawyers in mediation,” Bobde pointed out.

Cautioning that judges without adequate knowledge, skill and expertise may distort, delay and do injustice to the litigants, the CJI said the diversity and complexity of cases were becoming a challenge to the judiciary.

“Improving the quality of judges lied in the type of legal education judicial officers get in law colleges, law universities and at the bar. Judicial education should not be equated with judicial training,” he noted.

Advocating greater use of technology in the courts, Bobde said the judiciary was exploring using artificial intelligence (AI) in the administration of justice though it won’t be able to replace judges but speed up the judicial process.

“We should make use of technology like AI to speed up justice mechanism as it can do repetitive and mathematical parts of judgements. We are exploring using AI in the administration of justice, Bobde told the legal fraternity at the 19th biennial state-level conference of judicial officers here.

Asserting that delayed justice could not be a reason for taking law into hands by anyone, the CJI said the foundation of civilization rested on law and pursuit of justice was the ‘dharma’ of all judges and must be guided by what the Constitution dictated.

“We should employ every talent we have and every skill we possess to ensure that justice is delivered within a reasonable time,” he reiterated.

Lauding Karnataka for producing legal luminaries and judges of high calibre, as evident from some of the best judgements in civil law from its courts, Bobde said irrespective of the location of courts, there was no difference in the performance of the judges, be they in district courts, high courts or the Supreme Court.

Besides Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, apex court judges Mohan Shantanagoudar, S. Abdul Nazeer and A.S. Bopanna, Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and other judicial officers attended the conference on ‘Judicial Process Re-engineering and Judicial Skill Building’.