The President of India, Smt Droupadi Murmu graced the Constitution Day Celebrations, being organised by the Supreme Court of India, in New Delhi today (November 26, 2023).

 Speaking on the occasion, the President said that today, we celebrate the values enshrined in the Constitution and rededicate ourselves to uphold them in the day-to-day life of the nation. The values of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity are the principles on which we have agreed to conduct ourselves as a nation. These values helped us win independence. It is no wonder these find a special mention in the Preamble and continue to guide our nation-building efforts.

 The President said that the cause of justice is best served by making it accessible for all. This also strengthens equality. We should ask ourselves whether every single citizen is in a position to seek justice. On introspection, we realise that there are many barriers in the way. Cost is the most significant factor. There are other barriers like language, which is beyond the comprehension of a majority of citizens.

 The President said that more varied representation of India’s unique diversity on Bench and Bar definitely helps serve the cause of justice better. One way to hasten this diversification process can be the creation of a system in which judges can be recruited from varied background through a process which is merit based, competitive and transparent. There can be an All-India Judicial Service which can select brilliant youngsters and nurture and promote their talents from lower levels to higher levels. Those who aspire to serve the Bench can be selected from across the country to create a larger pool of talent. Such a system can offer opportunities to the less-represented social groups too.

 The President said that in order to improve the access to justice, we should seek to make the overall system citizen-centric. Our systems have been products of time; more precisely, products of colonialism. Clearing away its vestiges has been a work in progress. She expressed confidence that we can speed up the remaining part of de-colonisation in all domains with more conscious efforts.

 The President said that as we celebrate the Constitution Day, we should note that the Constitution is after all only a written document. It comes alive and remains alive only if its contents are put into practice. That requires the exercise of interpretation. She appreciated the Supreme Court for playing the role of the final interpreter of our founding document to the perfection. She stated that this Court’s bar and bench have constantly raised the standards of jurisprudence. Their legal acumen and scholarship has been par excellence. Like our Constitution, our Supreme Court too has been a model for many other nations. She expressed confidence that with a vibrant judiciary, the health of our democracy is never going to be a cause of concern.