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Language Barriers And Expenditure: Impeding Equal Access To Justice

The pursuit of justice is intricately tied to the principles of equality, yet the use of English in higher judiciary proceedings poses a significant obstacle to equal access to justice. This challenge is particularly pronounced in rural areas and among socially deprived groups. In this analysis, we explore how language and associated expenditures in the legal system hinder the realization of equal justice, emphasizing the need for awareness campaigns, legal aid, and technological solutions.

Language as a Barrier:
The English language, prevalent in the higher judiciary of countries like India, becomes a formidable barrier for a substantial portion of society. Understanding judicial procedures, accessing legal documents, and comprehending judgments in a language not widely spoken exacerbate disparities in legal knowledge. Although the Supreme Court's initiative to publish judgments in regional languages is a positive step, this approach needs broader implementation.

Addressing Linguistic Gaps:
Legal aid institutions play a pivotal role in bridging linguistic gaps. By providing support in local languages, they enable individuals to comprehend their rights and navigate the legal system effectively. Embracing technology in legal aid services further democratizes access to justice. The dissemination of legal information through digital platforms ensures a wider reach and empowers individuals to seek redressal without being hindered by language barriers.

Cost Implications:
One of the most significant barriers to justice is the cost associated with legal proceedings. A substantial portion of the population, particularly in rural areas, finds it financially burdensome to pursue legal remedies. To enhance equal access, there is a pressing need to reduce the overall cost of obtaining justice. This could involve subsidizing legal services, streamlining court processes, and advocating for policies that alleviate financial burdens on individuals seeking justice.

Promoting Awareness:
Creating awareness among the populace about their legal rights is paramount. Initiatives to educate people about their rights and the avenues available for legal aid must be widespread. Empowering individuals with knowledge ensures they are not only aware of their rights but also equipped to seek legal assistance when necessary. Judges, as educators, play a crucial role in disseminating this information to both students and the broader public.

Global Perspectives and Best Practices:
The Supreme Court's initiative to publish judgments in regional languages sets a commendable precedent. Other countries can emulate such practices to make legal information more accessible to diverse populations. The consensus among top judges globally, advocating for the implementation of the right to legal aid even before an arrest, underscores the urgency of addressing these issues on an international scale.

The Concluding Note:
Equal access to justice is a fundamental tenet of a just society, yet linguistic barriers and associated costs hinder this principle. By promoting awareness, leveraging technology, and adopting inclusive language practices, societies can pave the way for a more equitable legal system. The commitment of top judiciaries to make legal information accessible in regional languages is a positive step, but sustained efforts are required to ensure justice is truly within reach for all.

Ideas, thoughts, views, informations, discussions and interpretation expressed herein are being shared in the public Interest. Readers' discretion is advised as these are subject to my subjectivity and may contain human errors in perception, interpretation and presentation of the fact and issue involved herein.

Written By: Advocate Ajay Amitabh Suman, IP Adjutor - Patent and Trademark Attorney
Email: [email protected], Ph no: 9990389539

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