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President Pratibha Patil Saturday urged the judiciary to be responsive to the needs of the time and to deal with emerging issues.

The judiciary should constantly assess and evaluate its functioning to see how far objectives have been met, and whether it is responsive to the needs of the time, and in dealing with emerging issues, she said inaugurating the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Karnataka State Bar Council here.

Patil said the basic objective of the legal apparatus was to uphold constitutional principles, its basic structure of federalism and separation of power, as well as to interpret laws in the interest of national development and human dignity”.

Noting that Indian judiciary has established itself as independent and credible, she said many countries were seeking to emulate our judicial structure and processes”.

Noting that this was an era of globalization and IT, Patil said: “Technology has thrown up issues which were unheard of a few years ago, like cyber crime and hacking. How to deal with these will require new thinking and new knowledge. In this background, the one aspect that stands out is the need for constant upgradation of skills.”

This could be done through training on issues such as cyber laws, environmental laws, intellectual property rights and the need for gender sensitivity, she said, calling upon lawyers and judges to focus on preparing themselves for future challenges”.

“I am informed that the Karnataka State Bar Council has been conducting training camps for advocates, with senior advocates and jurists being the resource persons. I appreciate these efforts and these must continue vigorously.

Patil also said access to justice for all is a task that we must acknowledge, remains to be completed.

Approaching a court remains a daunting prospect for many, since navigating through the legal processes is not only complex, but also expensive. Court fees and high fees of lawyers make legal services unaffordable for many, she said.

These aspects need consideration. Affordable legal services which are delivered in a specified time frame will make legal recourse a practical and functional option, Patil said.

Urging legal fraternity to extend full support to legal aid cells, she wanted Gram Nyayalayas (village courts) at the grass roots level should be established soon.

She also wanted frivolous cases to be avoided to reduce the burden on judiciary, while attempts should also be to promote resolution of disputes, through alternate dispute settlement mechanisms and mediation.

Karnataka Governor H.R. Bhardwaj, central Corporate Affairs Minister M. Veerppa Moily, Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda and Karnataka High Court Chief Justice J.S. Khehar were present.

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