Is The Indian Judiciary Too Busy To Do Their Jobs Right?

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By Kush Kalra:

If they sent the victimised girl to Singapore for better treatment, I suggest they send the culprits to Saudi Arabia for better justice.

The above mentioned post on social networking sites has created a question mark on the justice delivery system in India. Recent RTI has revealed that there are over 43.22 lakh cases pending in High courts (as on December 2011) and also 262 vacancies of judges in courts. It’s been reported several times about how litigants died when the case was pending due to court proceedings and delay in justice. Till today we are unable to implement the All India services in Judiciary which is a provision in constitution of India under article 312. If the provision of constitution is implemented, the vacancies in judiciary might have come down and people hope for a speedier justice might come true. Even Former Justice Kapadia wants the government to consider an “idea” for a separate national budget for judiciary. Presently the budget for Judiciary is very low.

justice

Sometimes counsels have argued that the courts should ordinarily grant bail to the accused because in view of how long the cases will be pending the High Courts, a matter will come on board after a long time and by that time the accused might have completed his sentence. The Patna High Court expressed his anguish when a magistrate took nine months to pronounce a judgment. The words used by him for expressing his judicial wrath are the following:

“The magistrate who cannot find time to write judgment within reasonable time after hearing arguments ought not to do any judicial work at all. This Court strongly disapproves the magistrates making such a tremendous delay in the delivery of his judgments.”

Courts have time and again pointed out, would it be just at all for the Court to tell a person: “We have admitted your appeal because we think you have a prima facie case, but unfortunately we have no time to hear your appeal for quite a few years and, therefore, until we hear your appeal, you must remain in jail, even though you may be innocent?” What confidence would such administration of justice inspire in the mind of the public? While the problem of delay looks intimidating, it can be dealt by having additional fast track Courts, making legal services much more striking thereby drawing high-quality lawyers and filling up all available jobs at various Courts. Even Courts Traineeship at district courts should be initiated to train young lawyers. Presently the court traineeship programme at Supreme Court and high court is only for some selected law schools. It should be made open to everyone and should be decided on All India Test.

The government recently approved setting up of ‘National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms‘ that is aimed at increasing access by reducing delays and arrears in the system and enhancing accountability through structural changes and by setting performance standards and capacities. The confidence of common litigant tends to be shaken if there is excessive delay between hearing of arguments and delivery of judgments. Delay in Justice has forced villagers in Punjab to set up its own “high court” to resolve disputes due to rising litigation costs and slow pace of justice . Pulha village elders claim the “court”, comprising 35 “jury” members, has settled over 250 cases primarily related to land disputes piled up over last three years in as many months. Justice, as we have often observed, must not only be done but must manifestly appear to be done. Common Man in the midst of all these things is just suffering from delay in justice.

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