Dynamic, thought he studied from Oxford or Stanford: CJI on Law Minister

Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana on Saturday described Kiren Rijiju as a 'dynamic' Law Minister who he thought had studied either from Oxford or Stanford, but got surprised to learn that he came from a rural background.

Ramana said that he appreciates Rijiju's outlook towards strengthening judicial infrastructure to increase access to justice and thought he was from an elite background.

Speaking at a function where President Ram Nath Kovind laid the foundation stone for the UP National Law University and a new building complex of the Allahabad High Court here, the CJI, who initially started his speech in Hindi before switching to English, said, "Unfortunately, my learning of Hindi is confined to just a year in school. Please forgive me for my inability to communicate with you in your language."

Referring to Rijiju, the CJI said: "Many of us came from rural backgrounds... While travelling, he (Rijiju) mentioned about his background. I had thought that he studied from Oxford or Stanford university."

He added that in the morning "I got to know from him (Rijiju) that he also comes from a rural background. He understands the difficulties of common people".

Terming the Law Minister as encouraging, Ramana said. "He is supportive to us. I thank him on this occasion."

The function was also attended by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Governor Anandiben Patel, several judges of the top court and other dignitaries.

Rijiju, who gave his speech in Hindi, said the government believes in the independence of the judiciary, and wants to strengthen the judicial system besides taking steps to make it stronger.

He added that the Central government under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi wishes to develop a strong relationship with all the judges of the high courts and the Supreme Court.

Rijiju said: "In the upcoming Winter Session of the Parliament, we will table a Bill on mediation... We want to make India a hub of international arbitration."

"Timely delivery of justice must be made a priority," Rijiju said, adding that the Centre would work with the judiciary in order to facilitate the delivery of justice to the common man.

The CJI also said that courts in India still operate from dilapidated structures, without proper facilities and such a situation is severely detrimental to the experience of the litigants and the lawyers.

"We neglected and failed to focus on providing good infrastructure to the courts in India after the British left," he said.

Ramana added that he is working on the National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation (NJIC), which will develop concepts for the national court development project and its implementation.

"The NJIC shall be along the lines of different infrastructure development statutory bodies that work towards creating national assets across the country. One of the design principles that the NJIC will follow is socially responsible and inclusive architecture," he said.

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