Since 2014, as the Modi government has taken over, it is busy sorting out various selfish lobbies, crime syndicates, performance gaps, all-pervasive corruption, and top appointments in administration and judiciary. More than a thousand infructuous legislations have been abolished. Tax administration has been rationalized. Public services have been improved. Most of the citizen services are now online. The subsidy distribution has been rationalized, thanks to DBT.
The military-industrial infrastructure is being revitalized. The morale of our armed forces is at the highest. The schemes like “Production Linked Incentive” are attracting large investments in high-tech industries like chip manufacturing FABs both for electronics products and solar cells. Mobile/ laptop/ desktop production etc. are next in line. There is a general improvement in law and order. GST implementation has reduced the number of inspectors harassing the industry and trade. The power situation has improved and the overall ranking in “Ease of Doing Business” has gone up.
There is a lot to write home about the achievements of this government. But the most important and most vital organ, the Indian Judiciary is yet to show the signs of any tangible recovery in my opinion. Courts, at all levels, are as crowded as ever. Most of the cases do not see the finality even in one’s lifetime. More than three Crore cases are pending across various courts. Covid-19 has further aggravated the already pitiable situation. In my opinion, here is where the Scoundrels, the mafia, the corrupt, and evil draw their strength. There is therefore no fear of the judiciary. The lawbreakers have a field day. The punishment is as far away as one’s lifetime, even if it does happen.
In my opinion, the repeated adjournments, long legal procedures, no accountability of the prosecutors and the judiciary, poor discipline among the lawyers, freedom to challenge the lower judiciary, all these are factors where a genuine litigant is exhausted out and the scoundrel has the last laugh. Courts adjourning cases on flimsy grounds are a norm. The awarding/ denying Bail is too opaque and arbitrary, totally dependent on the whims and fancies of the individual judges, and is the major source of corruption.
There are more than 35 lakh “Cheque Bounce” cases pending among various courts. Most of them dragging on for more than a decade. With an appropriate amendment to the NI Act and the smart application of digital tools coupled with minimal adjournments, these cases can easily be handled in much less time.
The judiciary needs to be made accountable. Like other knowledge workers viz. Doctors, CAs, Chartered Engineers, etc. judges should be included in the same bracket. And the way other knowledge workers stand punished for wrong decisions, judges should also be made to stand punished for their wrong judgments.
In my opinion, the decision of the Supreme Court to strike down NJAC (National Judicial Appointments Commission), duly passed by the parliament, is a stark reminder of the lobby within the judiciary. The judiciary themselves do not want to reform. They do not want to lose the clout. They want to keep their authority and do nothing to improve the administration of the justice system.
It is high time that the citizens wake up and take up this challenge. There needs to be a public debate on the powers, roles, and responsibilities of the judges. Most of the judges selected for the higher judiciary are from among the practising lawyers. That in my opinion is like appointing Arms Dealers as Military Generals.
Based on the Facebook post by Cdr Neeraj Singla, Veteran.