President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday said that litigation fees should not create a divide between the haves and the have-nots — between litigants who can afford and those who cannot afford the considerable fees. “In representation too, our Judiciary must strive to reflect the diversity of our nation and the depth of our society,” President further stressed.

In addition to the disparity in litigation fees, the President also noted that frequent adjournments often sought only to delay cases, are an inconvenience and a form of a justice tax on poor and less well-off litigants.

Speaking at a book launch, the president remarked “The PIL tradition is an Indian contribution to the practice of law and the process of justice delivery. This has been admired by other democracies and other legal systems as well.”

President Kovind received the first copy of the book from Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who formally released it at a function held in New Delhi on February 8.

The book titled ‘Law, Justice and Judicial Power: Justice P N Bhagwati’s Approach‘ is a collection of essays on the life and work, and approach to justice, of the late Justice P.N. Bhagwati.

“It must be recalled that the very concept of the PIL [public interest litigation] began as an instrument for the poor and those who could not afford the expense of a lengthy litigation process. Justice Bhagwati himself termed this ‘equal justice in action’. Such questions remain relevant today,” the President added.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said it was the dedication of Justice Bhagwati “coupled with the empathy for the underprivileged that led him to gravitate towards unshackling excess to justice for the benefit of the large mass of India”.

“Justice Bhagwati was one of the harbingers of the environmental jurisprudence in the country. It was his compassionate legal mind that made possible reading of environmental rights as an integral part of human rights,” said the Chief Justice.

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