Rethinking Justice: Prime Minister Modi Calls for Legal Reform
In a thought-provoking address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasized the urgent need to “rethink, reimagine, and reform” legal systems. The occasion, the Commonwealth Attorney- and Solicitor-General Conference 2024, provided a platform for leaders to discuss the evolving landscape of justice delivery.
Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud echoed this sentiment, underscoring the crucial role of government law officers in upholding the honor of the legal profession. From the Attorney-General to the Solicitor-General, these officers serve as the vital link between the court and the government. Chief Justice Chandrachud stressed the significance of exemplary conduct both inside and outside the courtroom, quoting jurist Nani Palkhivala’s timeless words: “The greatest glory of the Attorney-General is not to win cases for the government but to ensure that justice is done to the people.”
Ethical Responsibilities of Law Officers
The Chief Justice highlighted the ethical responsibilities that come with the role of law officers. They bear the duty to inform the government when it lacks a valid case, emphasizing their greater responsibility in upholding ethical standards compared to private practitioners. Chief Justice Chandrachud emphasized that law officers must remain impervious to the politics of the day, ensuring the integrity of legal proceedings.
Executive Accountability and Cooperation
Acknowledging the delicate balance between the executive and the judiciary, Chief Justice Chandrachud pointed out that executive accountability rests on the ethical conduct and responsibility of law officers. He stressed their role as “officers of the court,” guardians of the rule of law.
Prime Minister Modi, speaking on “Cross-border challenges in justice delivery,” highlighted the importance of countries expanding cooperation in investigation and justice delivery while respecting each other’s jurisdictions. He emphasized that collaborative efforts could turn jurisdiction into a tool for delivering justice without unnecessary delays.
21st Century Challenges: Rethinking Legal Systems
In his address, Prime Minister Modi drew attention to the radical changes in the nature and scope of crime, citing the rise of multinational criminal networks and the challenges posed by cryptocurrency and cyber threats. He emphasized the inadequacy of a 20th-century approach in tackling 21st-century issues, calling for a comprehensive rethink, reimagination, and reform of legal systems.
As the conference brought together legal minds from Commonwealth nations and international delegations, the discussions resonated with the shared goal of adapting legal frameworks to the dynamic challenges of the modern era. Prime Minister Modi’s call for a paradigm shift reflects the collective realization that embracing change is essential for the effective delivery of justice in our ever-evolving world.