Referring to the inadequate judicial infrastructure, Justice Ramana said, “From my days as an advocate, I have been noticing the poor condition of courts. Judicial infrastructure in India remains one of the most neglected areas. This subject was on my priority list.”
“Soon after assuming the office of the Chief Justice, I asked the registry to conduct a survey. The results were disappointing. In the interest of increased access to justice, I had to take it up on an urgent basis. The focus is on expansion of infrastructure and modernisation,” he said.
The pandemic proved that modern technology has to be an integral part of infrastructure, he said.
“What we need is world-class infrastructure. Courts should be welcoming and carry the requisite dignity. That is why I have proposed the creation of independent statutory authorities at the national and state level.
“Such authorities, with functional and financial autonomy, would ensure timely execution of modernisation projects with uniformity and standardisation,” he added.
On the issue of retirement, the CJI said that 65 years is too early for someone to retire.
“In the Indian judiciary, at the time of joining, we know our date of retirement. There are no exceptions. I am still left with a decent amount of energy.
“I am the son of an agriculturalist and left with some land to cultivate. I am a man of people… and I hope I will find the right avenue to invest energy. Retirement from the judiciary does not mean retirement from public life,” he said.
On legal aid, Justice Ramana said there are around 45,000 para legal volunteers and nearly 12,000 legal services clinics functioning all over the country.
“Providing legal aid to the undertrials is another significant contribution of these authorities. We have legal services clinics in jails as well which provide assistance to the undertrials and the convicts,” he said.