Right to Justice Law Insider

Sankalp Mirani

Published on: 01 October, 2022 at 14:48 IST


India post-independence emerged with the largest constitution in the world, promising every citizen their basic rights and liberties. Nevertheless, continuous increment of population and lack of infrastructure plays as a hindrance in fulfilment of these promises. It is saddening to witness people accept injustice because of never-ending proceedings, lack of resources, undesirable outcomes, and mostly due to ignorance of their rights.

In today’s India, “Access to Justice” means having recourse to an affordable, quick, satisfactory settlement of disputes from a credible forum.[1] Hence, to promote equality irrespective of the factors mentioned above, the provision of free legal aid emerged. The Constitution of India promises justice in all its forms- social, economic and political.

Right to Equality and Justice

Long before the enforcement of Indian constitution on 26th January, 1950 India adopted right to access to court as a part of law. It was taken from common law of England.[2] After the adoption of the constitution, citizens were granted justice under preamble, Fundamental Rights enshrined under Part III of the constitution, directive principles of state and other constitutional provisions.

Article 14, of Constitution of India states – “The state shall not deny to any person equality before law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.”

The Audi Alteram partem which means “other party must be heard” applies in Article 14 bonding the state to ensure proper representation of every person before the court letting aside a person’s means or knowledge.[3]

Part IV of our constitution constitutes Directive Principles of State Policy, provided under Article 39A– “The State shall ensure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice, on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall, in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic other disabilities.”

Free legal aid is a right of every underprivileged person ensuring their equal representation before court. It is important to safeguard the right of life and liberty of an accused protected under Article 21 of the Constitution.[4]

Four Facets of access to justice were identified by CJI TS Thakur:[5]

  1. The State provides an effective adjudicatory mechanism.
  2. The Mechanism so provided must be reasonably accessible in terms of distance.
  3. The Process of Adjudication must be speedy.
  4. The Litigants’ access to the Adjudicatory Process must be affordable.

In Mumbai, Kamgar Sabha v. Abullabhai (1976) to further protect the right to access of justice for unprivileged people the court relaxed and even allowed anu member of public to approach the court under the rule of Locus Standi mentioned under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Civil Procedure Code, 1908.[6] Locus Standi means only the person whose legal right is infringed can approach the court. The plaintiff had to prove his locus standi for the trial to begin.[7]


The term “access to justice” requires the system to be accessible to all companies with results that are both individually and socially just. However, judicial inefficiency and an incapable infrastructure make it difficult to achieve this goal of equal access to justice for all. Several landmark judgments, accompanied by numerous provisions, back our nation’s dream of access to justice.

The formal mode of Justice includes dispute resolution through courts. On the other hand, the informal mode of access to justice involves arbitration, conciliation, mediation, etc., but the arbitrators, mediators, are not vested with enough power for the proper and smooth resolution of disputes. It has to be kept in mind that it is not only about access to justice but also about the citizens’ faith in justice.


  1. Access to Justice in India by Mayukha Parcha & Anicham Tamilmani
  2. PP Rao, Access to Justice and delay in disposal of cases
  3. Justice M. Jagnnaha Rao Chairman Law Commission of India
  4. Access to Justice, PATHSHALA, MHRD Project under NME-ICT
  5. Hussainara Khatoon IV v. Home Secretary (1980)
  6. Harish Nahasappa, Access to Justice: A Fundamental Right
  7. Yash Thakur, Locus Standi: Meaning and Essential ingredients of Locus Standi
  8. Doctrine of Locus Standi

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