Justice NV Ramana.

Digital divide in rural, tribal areas severely impacting justice delivery; young lawyers being deprived of livelihood: CJI’s letter to Law Minister

CHIEF Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana Saturday revealed that he has written a letter to the Union Minister of Law, Communications and Information Technolgy Ravi Shankar Prasad expressing concerns about the poor connectivity in rural, tribal, remote and hilly areas which, the CJI said, was adversely impacting the pace of justice delivery and also depriving thousands of young lawyers across the country of their livelihood.

He requested the minister to initiate steps on priority to bridge the digital divide and also to evolve a mechanism to help advocates who had lost livelihood due to the pandemic and were in dire need of financial assistance.

In his letter, CJI Ramana sought the intervention of the Centre on the following issues-

  • To strengthen the network and connectivity beyond major urban centres, particularly in rural and tribal areas, as the digital divide is adversely impacting the functioning of the courts in the wake of Covid19 pandemic;
  • To augment the provisioning of vaccines to immunize all functionaries associated with the courts and their families across the country to facilitate full-scale functioning;
  • To recognize all the functionaries of the courts, including the advocates, as frontline workers for the purpose of providing pandemic related relief;
  • To provide financial support to advocates, especially junior advocates, who are struggling to make ends meet due to the loss of work for more than a year since the onset of the pandemic

The CJI was speaking at the launch of “Anomalies in Law and Justice”, a book authored by Justice R V Raveendran.

During the course of the panel discussion that followed the book launch, Justice Ramana told the audience that the matter of connectivity figured prominently in the two-day conference of chief justices of high courts that the CJI had held recently.

“A whole generation of lawyers is being pushed out of the system due to digital divide,” the CJI lamented. He also empashised the need to declare legal professionals and associated functionaries as frontline workers to enable them to be vaccinated on priority.