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Report No. 114

3.2. Participatory justice.-

Both the law making and the judicial administration since the British days were non-participatory in character and continues to retain that feature till today. Participation by broad masses of people, or even by the interests immediately affected by it, in the process of the making and implementation of laws was virtually unknown; unless of course, we regard protest and disobedience as forms of group participation in law making.'1 The new approach must strike at the root of this non-participatory method. While retaining the acceptable features of the present system, the working paper focussed its attention on inter-linking it with participatory model which may help in deprofessionalisation of the administration of justice. Participation was to be invited in the process of recommending law reforms and participation may be advisedly introduced in the administration of justice.

These were the twin objectives in formulating draft proposals in the working paper. History, it is said always sheds light on the future action to be taken and provides a feed back. The historical perspective was extensively examined in the Working Paper and the inevitable conclusion that emerged therefrom was that tinkering with the system at its fringes was foredoomed to failure. It is self-evident that litigiousness could not be reduced by merely tinkering with procedures of regular courts of law. What has become necessary is a new institutional forum stripped of technicalities and the procedural rituals of the regular courts.

The non-participatory British model of administration of justice alienated the people from the system because of its foreign origin, technicality, extreme formalism, rigid rules of procedure and relevance and foreign language. It has till today remained an alien system which has no living contact with the masses and is not meaningful to them.2 The historical perspective shaped the thinking of the Commission and an attempt was made in the draft proposals to structure administration of justice on participatory model.

1. U. Baxi The Crisis of the Indian Legal System, (1982), pp. 44-45.

2. Report of the Legal Aid Committee (Govt. of Gujarat, 1971), para. 13.12, p. 209.

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