SONIPAT: Speaking at a two-day international conference on the theme, 'Due Process, Rule of Law and Democracy: Comparative Perspectives from India and the United States', jointly organized by Jindal Global Law School of the OP Jindal Global University and the Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii, Justice Michael C. Wilson, Judge, Supreme Court of Hawaii observed that, "The bedrock of democracy is that we, the citizens of the state, should treat people decently and with compassion, and understand those that are lesser parts of our community and stand up for them. Law and lawyers have played a huge role in sustaining egalitarian values. Mahatma Gandhi, who inspired Martin Luther King Jr., a doyen of justice, was a lawyer." Justice Wilson further added that, "I often think of India as the crucible of democracy. The past of India has meant so much to the world and to the US."
The two-day conference inter alia explored the essential correlation between due process guarantee, rule of law systems, and the democratic values and their interplay in India and the US.
Delivering a special address, Justice Sabrina McKenna, Judge, Supreme Court of Hawaii, pointed out, "We need to promote and protect democratic government, we need to have public trust in democracy and the rule of law. The cornerstone of this is due process of law. Judicial independence is critical to have a healthy democracy. True democracies are governed by rule of law and not by rule of power or persuasion."
Highlighting the importance of a diverse judiciary, Justice McKenna added that, "Diversity in the judiciary is an extremely important aspect of the rule of law. As President Barack Obama said when men and women who deliver justice look more like the community they serve, there is greater confidence in our justice system overall. In terms of diversity, Hawaii is one of the four states having over 50 per cent full-time women judges. I really hope India fulfils this principle of the rule of law. I am an outspoken advocate for increasing the number of women judges, especially in the Supreme Court."
In his special address, Justice Todd W. Eddins, Judge, Supreme Court of Hawaii, said, "The rule of law has to operate to protect the inherent rights that we all have as members of the human race. Due process safeguards liberty and protects individuals against government's interference with fundamental rights. If the government undercuts an inherent human right, courts have to ensure that the basic human rights are beyond the reach of the government."
Delivering the keynote address, Sudhir Mishra, Founder and Managing Partner, Trust Legal, observed, "In India, whether it's the case of sedition, or free speech or oxygen or environment, our judiciary is actually the last recourse for the ordinary persons even now. They look up to them, and they go to the court. When media will fail you, when legislature will fail you, executive will fail you, people will come to judiciary."
Through six sessions spread over two days, the conference brought together judges, advocates, and academics from both jurisdictions to deliberate on various themes. (IANS)
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