People's faith in institutions for delivering justice is "rapidly eroding" and unless that faith is restored, they will take law into their hands, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said today. "Unless we strengthen the rule of law and unless we deliver justice, we run the risk of threatening the very institutions that are supposed to deliver. Unfortunately, my own experience has been that people's patience and people's faith in institutions is rapidly eroding.
"In fact, in some instances, it has almost completely eroded. Unless we rebuild that faith, that confidence, people will, more often than not, take law into their own hands," he said.
The Chief Minister was speaking at the inaugural function of three-day Third Regional Judicial Conference (North Zone) on 'Role of courts in upholding rule of law' at SKICC here.
Omar said this problem was not unique to Jammu and Kashmir and it holds true for every part of the country. He said when crimes like the December 16 Delhi gangrape take place, people come out on streets to protest, not just because they are angry, but also because they are not sure whether the government will respond in a timely and speedy manner.
The Chief Minister said people lose faith in institutions if justice is not given speedily and noted that time has come to rebuild that faith and to live up to the commitment to upholding the rule of law. He said steps were being taken to reduce pendency of cases in the courts to deliver speedy justice. "Continuously, steps are being taken to reduce pendency (of cases) in the courts because we recognise that there cannot be a rule of law if it takes years to receive justice. For the rule of law to thrive, we need to reduce the pendency and ensure speedy justice," he said.
The Chief Minister said more courts are being created and alternative systems of dispensing justice, like Lok Adalat and rural Lok Adalat, are being set up in his state. "The state recently introduced more than thirty mobile courts with this aim in mind that justice should be delivered at people's doorsteps," he said.