New Delhi (NVI): Cautioning political parties against resorting to vote-catching populist measures, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said such action would only affect the “expenditure on development”.
Addressing the law students of PES University, Bengaluru at his residence, Naidu pointed out, “Strengthening democracy was in the hands of the people and added that voting was not only a right but a responsibility too.”
He urged people to keep in mind the four Cs—Character, Conduct, Calibre and Capacity, while choosing their representatives.
“Some people were trying to weaken democracy by promoting another set of 4 Cs—caste, community, cash and criminality,” he added.
Observing that the “Law of Torts” has received scant attention in India, he said, “It protects people who become victims of negligence by another party. In many developed countries like the US, it is an important branch of law. All of us are aware of how pharmaceutical and tobacco companies have to part with huge damages if negligence is proved in a court of law.”
“Maybe the time has come for us to invoke such liabilities in Indian context as well to protect the genuine interest of consumers,” he added.
Referring to the heavy pendency of cases in various courts, he said, “Apparently, there were nearly 60,000 cases pending in the Supreme Court and nearly 44 lakh cases in the High Courts,” and emphasised, “We need to take action to reduce this heavy pendency. Justice delayed, as is often said, is justice denied.”
Stressing the need to promote ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) mechanisms, he said, “ADR mechanism was generally faster, less expensive and could reduce pendency of cases.”
Calling on to make judicial processes more people-friendly, the Vice President said, “The law enforcement machinery and the justice dispensing structures must be accessible, credible, equitable and transparently even-handed. There is a lot of ground we have to cover in this regard.”
The Vice President also favored holding of simultaneous elections to the state assemblies and the Lok Sabha, stating,“it should be a one-time affair”.
For strengthening grass-root level democracy, he said, “There should not be any scope to the states to postpone elections to the local bodies on one pretext or the other.”
Describing lawyers as important stakeholders in ensuring that people have access to justice, Naidu said, “It is very important that justice reaches the last man as it forms the basis of a stable and prosperous society. Sense of injustice often leads to alienation and unrest.”
He further added, “It was imperative to reform legal education and make it holistic, as lawyers would have to play the role of change agents or social engineers in addressing socio-economic challenges. They also need to address a variety of new crimes triggered by technological advancements and liberalization.”