By Himadrish Suwan:
India has witnessed a return of BJP with a promise to bring “Ache Din”, but will these “Ache Din”Â also include theÂ Judiciary in India is still not clear. We have a lot of expectations from our new Law Minister Shri. Ravishankar Prasad, who himself is one of India’s senior lawyers & understands the problem well.
Judiciary in India is one of the important limbs of the government and today, it has come to enjoy enormous powers. There is an urgent need to fix the Indian legal system and make it friendly to the common people. There is no doubt about the fact that the judiciary is in need of speedy and effective reforms.
– Corruption in Judiciary
Corruption in the judiciary is a worrying phenomenon. A corrupt judge is doubly dangerous as he is the one to enforce the writ of the Constitution and ensure that no arm of governance violates the laws. The judicial system is no less corrupt than any other institution of the government; it is well known to those who have had to deal with it. It’s clear that one cannot even register an FIR against a judge taking bribes without the prior permission of the Chief Justice of India. The media & Press is also unwilling to talk about it because of the fear of contempt. Thus, the Indian judiciary has become opaque, which needs to be transparent in a democracy like India.
– Undertrials & False Convictions
AÂ majority of undertrials spend more time in jail during trials than the maximum sentence that can be imposed upon them. It is seen that even decades pass by in trial & then the person convicted is found to be not guilty. The undertrials in the judicial system make easy way for the rich and influentialÂ people, who can have the police at their side, to harass the oppressed. Thus, a person’s character must be minutely examined before sending one for trial, else it would be unfair and unjust.
– Crores of Cases Pending
‘Justice delayed is justice denied’Â – This quote denotes if timely justice is not provided to the victims, it loses its importance and violates basic human rights. It is reported that more than 40 lakh cases are pending for disposal in the High Courts and the number of cases pending in the subordinate courts has crossed 2 Crore.Victims have to wait for a very longÂ time while seeking justice, we often hear about justice being delivered either after the death of the victim or at that time when it has become redundant for the seeker. This approach of Â the justice delivery system brings forth a pathetic situation prevailing all around. International investors take this as one of the big hurdles in doing business in India, as the courts are considered only as a last resort or as a means to harass the opposite party.
– Removal of judges is difficult
It is clear that a strong judiciary can protect our democracy and human rights but in order to protect us, it should be first transparent & accountable. Our legal system lacks in its own cleaning mechanism. Because judges can’t judge their own peers objectively in the unlikely event of any judge being found guilty. Calcutta high court judge Soumitra Sen is the only judge in India to have been ever impeached by any house of the parliament. In early nineties, Supreme Court judge V Ramaswami had faced similar proceedings in Parliament. But the Congress bailed him out by abstaining from supporting the impeachment motion. Hence, such cases should haveÂ “Zero Tolerance”Â as it’s in the country’s interest.
– Shortage of Judges
Judiciary needs at least 40,000 judges to tackle the huge backlog of almost 3 crore cases. Over three crore cases are pending in various courts across the country and this unacceptable level can only be reduced by appointment of more judges. India is to have around 15 crore pending cases by 2040 if the conditions continue to be the same, a report says. India has just 13 judges for every ten lakh people as against 35-40 in other developing nations and 50 in a developed country, a Parliamentary panel has said and urged the government to make all efforts to fill up the existing vacant posts of judges. The primary causes for delays are quite evident. The inadequate number of judges and courts in the country is clearly one of the major reasons for such a delay. The Governments have not only failed to increase the numerical strength of judges and courts, but have also been slack in filling up of vacancies. If we compare the numbersÂ with the USA and the UK, there are only 10 – 12 judges per 10 lacks of people in India while in U.S.A. & UK it is 65 – 75 judges per 10 lacks of people in the US and 50 – 55 judges in the U.K.
We must remember that people turn to the judiciary for getting justice. We hope that it will gradually be able to reclaim & restore itself as an accountable institution in the world’s largest democracy.