‘Justice Vs. The Judicial System’ by Prof. G. Mohan Gopal

Prof. G. Mohan Gopal (Legal Scholar and a former Director of the National Law School of India University, Bangalore) presented his research entitled ‘Justice Vs. The Judicial System’ at the Sociological Research Colloquium.

When: Friday, 05th April 2018 at 3:00 p.m.

Where: Seminar Room (First Floor), Department of Sociology, University of Delhi 


“To secure to ourselves justice” is the first goal of “we the people” in forming the Indian Republic. In turn, the Constitutional mandate of the Indian legal system is to “promote justice” (Article 39A). These are pledges to the powerless, not to the powerful. Yet, on the ground, they remain empty words. Those who cannot afford expensive lawyers are “docket excluded”. The Indian judicial system still largely retains its colonial-era authoritarian structure, institutional culture and role. It has rejected important democratic reforms implemented in “sister” common law jurisdictions (most recently to democratize judicial appointments and accountability through the NJAC) The powerless have no voice in its governance or its ideation of justice and rights. Some judgements sporadically and erratically support democratic rights; others close even the minuscule space now available to marginalized sections.

Why is this the case? Why has extensive scholarly work, activism and policy reforms over several decades failed to make a decisive difference? What social factors drive the injustice of judicial systems in India and its imperviousness to justice? Given that the exclusion of the powerless from judicial systems is a global phenomenon, are there factors unique to India? What can be done? Is new thinking possible? Can we develop greater clarity on what justice means? Can the State’s performance on securing justice be measured and monitored? Can the judicial system be democratized? What kind of structural and theoretical reforms can bring about change and help realize the Constitutional vision?

About the Speaker

Prof. G. Mohan Gopal is a former Director of the National Law School of India University, Bangalore and a former Director of the National Judicial Academy, Bhopal. He currently chairs the National Court Management Systems Committee of the Supreme Court of India. He also coordinates an informal work cluster, the Public Defense Initiative. His work focuses on the role of law in democratizing social orders, as well as on the internal democratization of legal and judicial systems.. He holds a bachelor’s degree in law from Delhi University and masters and doctoral degrees in law from Harvard University.

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