Vice President cautions against populist measures saying it will affect development expenditure

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New Delhi: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu today cautioned political parties against resorting to vote-catching populist measures on the eve of elections, as it would ultimately affect the expenditure on development.

Interacting with law students of Bengaluru-based law students at Upa-Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi today, he pointed out that 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 4 Cs—Character, Conduct, Calibre and Capacity, while choosing their representatives.

Unfortunately, he said, that some people were trying to weaken democracy by promoting another set of 4 Cs—caste, community, cash and criminality. He said the people should make a considered choice while choosing their elected representatives.

The Vice President also favoured holding of simultaneous elections to the State Assemblies and the Lok Sabha saying “it should be a one-time affair”. For strengthening grass-root level democracy, he said that there should not be any scope to the States to postpone elections to the local bodies on one pretext or the other.

Naidu said that lawyers were important stakeholders in ensuring that people have access to justice. “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”, the Vice President cautioned.

Calling for making the 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”, 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.“We need to take action to reduce this heavy pendency. Justice delayed, as is often said, is justice denied”, he emphasized.

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.

The Vice President also said 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 liberalisation.

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 the court of law. May be the time has come for us to invoke such liabilities in Indian context as well to protect the genuine interest of consumers’, he added.

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