India has apparently been facing the contemporary issue of docket explosion and the complication of pending cases, which acts as a vast liability to the country. Currently, the number of pending cases exceed 22 million in several courts covering the country. The copious amount of pending cases across the country has undoubtedly immobilized the structural and methodical functioning of the Indian judiciary and undesirably impacts the violation of right to timely delivery of justice of the citizens. It is appropriately stated by Jerome Frank that “In a democracy, court belongs not to the lawyers and judges, but to the citizens”. Post 70 years of the country’s independence, receiving justice for numerous citizens of India has endured to be an illusion. The judiciary is an intrinsic fragment of our country, therefore, civility, integrity and proficiency of the same constitute the foundation and crux of the legal system. However the backlog faced by numerous courts of the country leads to one of the major problem of the Indian Judiciary, i.e. delay of justice due to pendency of cases. The concept of speedy trial is read into Article 21 as an essential part of the fundamental right to life and liberty guaranteed and preserved under our Constitution.
In the words of Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer, “The true conception of the administration of justice is that the lowly concerns of the least person is the highest consideration to the state and the court.” Hence, the judiciary being a constitutive fragment of our country’s democracy, every intrinsic value ought to be bought into judicial exercise. Article 14 of the Constitution of India assures “equality before the law and equal protection of laws”. Unfortunately and lastly, a large crowd is unable to access the right to timely justice because of insufficient abilities and infrastructure to fulfil the same. The heavy cost and tedious and complex court proceedings constitute to be one of the major problem factor in the contemporary Indian Judiciary. It hence is pivotal to analyse and examine the legal procedures and the issues faced by the citizens in gaining swift justice. The research paper would also consists of the various challenges faced with context to the pendency of cases across the numerous courts across the country.
FACTORS LEADING TO DOCKET EXPLOSION:
According to the recent estimates of the National Judicial Data Grid, a total of 24,247,103 cases are pending before various courts in India, of which 7,815,594 cases are civil in nature and 16,431,509 are criminal cases. Miscellaneous factors accompanying other factors such as less judge strength capacity attributed towards the rise in the caseload of the judiciary. The Satish Chandra Committee Report and the Arrears Committee Report (1990) has comprehensively analysed the several factors which have given rise to the problem of accumulation of arrears of cases in the Indian judiciary in such gigantic proportions. The key causes attributing towards docket explosion are mentioned as follows:
As per researches it is known that the delay in justice in Honourable High Courts of our country had intensified from 191,972 in the year 1956 to 1,546,526 in the year 1987. Contemporarily, the estimated number of outstanding cases lie at 2,356,027 since more than the past ten years, clearly justifying the potency of the issue.
The rise of litigation turns out to be directly proportional to the rise in population of our country. The more the population, the more the time taken to dispense justice to a large population simply. The population of India as per the 2011 census lies at an estimated range of 1,210,193,422.
REVOLUTIONARY REFORM IN LITIGATION PATTERN:
The various welfare aims present in the Constitution of India had got with it predominant substitutes within the extent and reach of litigation in the country. The judiciary was made easily approachable and reachable to the citizens along with developing legal recognition and also eased the hike of PILs as well as legal aid provisional measures. But it is extremely contrary to the contemporary scenarios.
SUPPLEMENTARY BURDEN OF ELECTION PETITION:
Endowing of the judiciary to High Courts to pertain to election associated disputation rose the amount of litigation and pendency.
INCREASING LEGISLATIVE ACTIVITIES:
The past 70 years had observed ratification of several legislations, coping with economy related affairs, environmental and corporate issues etc. This ultimately resulted in rise in number of legal rights and as a consequence it lead to rise in litigation of society.
PENDENCY OF CASES:
Pendency of cases constitutes one of the chief challenges of the smooth functioning of the contemporary Indian Judiciary. As per the reports of the year 2015, there were nearly 400 vacant judge positions in about 24 High Courts across India. The cases still pending to be resolved are 60,000 at an estimated range in the Honourable Supreme Court. The budgetary appropriations for the Indian Judiciary is barely 0.2% of the country’s GDP. The ideal count of judges required, ought to be 55 is to one million of the total population, which contemporarily is barely 11 is to one million of the total population. The statement “Justice delayed is justice denied” stands true. The legal system of India must ameliorate their conditions and circumstances of service as a long term solutions to the problems faced by the contemporary Indian Judiciary. Also, when a citizen is not in a stabilized economic condition, they do not have access to lawyers who charge a huge sum or the expense of court proceeding. This also forms a major barrier for international investors who desire the conduct of their business in India. Therefore, the main challenge of the judiciary – pendency of cases due to insufficient judges and lawyers constitutes to one of the major issue faced by the contemporary Indian Judiciary.
There have taken place several instances wherein the predominant pillars of our country’s democracy has been obtained of being captured in corrupt activities. Bribery and remoulding trial dates are certain common corrupt activities that occur in our country’s legal system. According to constitutional provisions, there does not lie any purvey for lodging an FIR against a corrupt judge, who may have accomplished in collecting bribery, without due and official authorization of the CJI. A citizen who is not economically secured, undoubtedly cannot afford to undergo the long lasting procedure of seeking permission from the CJI before lodging an FIR as this increases expenses to a great extent barring the additional heavy court procedures. Apart from it being costly, it may also tend to be gradual and onerous. An illustration of corrupt practice would be appropriated for the example of Soumitra Sen, judge of the High Court of Calcutta was impeached for embezzlement of funds.
LACK OF PRIMACY AND PREFERENCE:
As very evident, the arguments presented in the court of law tend to get lengthy and hence, time consuming. Therefore, there is an acute need to apply exertion to control the same. The judgement pronounced by a High Court or the Honourable Supreme Court is often protracted, verbose and prolix in nature which is required to be circumvented and eschewed. It is continually and customarily perceived that there exists the absence and deficiency of priority for the dispensation of judgements for previous cases.
LACK OF TRANSPARENCY IN THE LEGAL SYSTEM:
Contemporarily, there had occurred numerous debates pertaining to the collegium system and the government desired system for appointing judges – NJAC. None of the two systems seem to be transparent in nature to portray the process of appointment of judges comprehendible enough to the general public. However, the right to know the same lies within the walls of freedom of speech and expression.
ACCUSED UNDERNEATH TRIAL:
Another downside that arises from the above-stated drawbacks is that the underneath trials of the suspect. Precisely, for people who have committed against the law, it is unfair, however it is not alright for innocent to pay longer in jail only for anticipating his trial. The Indian jails area unit filled with individuals underneath trials; they're confined to the jails until their case involves a certain conclusion. Mostly, they find yourself payment longer within the jail than the particular term which may have had been awarded to them had the case been selected a time and, presumptuous it absolutely was set against them. Moreover, all the expenses, pain and agony that area unit employed by them to defend themselves in courts area unit worse than serving the particular sentence underneath trials aren't guilty until guilty. On the opposite hand, the made and powerful individuals will bring the police to their sides, and also the police will harass or silence inconvenienced and poor persons, throughout the long ordeals within the courts.
LACK OF INTERACTION AMONG INDIVIDUALS & COURTS:
For any Judiciary to achieve success, it's necessary that the final public should recognize the mechanics of judiciary. The society should participate within the court proceedings. However, it's the duty of public in addition to form positive that they're participative enough to own the data associated with the judiciary. The defender and manufacturers should be near to the general public and request their opinion on a selected law or judgments.
HARDSHIPS OF THE BENEATH TRIALS:
In India, over fraction of India’s roughly 4.2 lakh prisoners unit of measurement beneath trial, that's one of the worlds’ largest vary of under-trial prisoners. They suffer in jail not as a consequence of they have been found guilty but as a results of being prosecuted on charges that are non- bailable or when they are too poor to afford a bail. In most of the cases they end pay longer in jail throughout the prosecution than the actual term awarded of the crime has been really committed. Under trials are not guilty till condemned.
LESS USE OF TECHNOLOGY:
In order to possess a simpler judiciary, it must adopt the technology. This can scale back the large quantity of work concerned. The information of the court is additionally not maintained in one place and there's no recording of the proceedings and hearings. Thus there's a desire to use higher technology for recording the statements, different technology like CCTVs ought to even be used for recoveries and another connected method.
NO INTERACTION WITH SOCIETY:
In order to create an efficient judiciary, is important that the judiciary kind of an integrity that forms a part of the society. Judiciary’s interaction with society could be a mandate and it ought to be each regular and relevant. Many countries involve their voters in judgement creating, however, in India, there's no such setup. The voters ought to actively participate in judicial activities to create an efficient judiciary.
SOLUTIONS TO FASTEN THE JUDICIAL PROCESSES:
To increase the strength of the judiciary:
In order to extend the strength, achievement of communication, All India judicial services could facilitate in resolution the difficulty of appointment of judges. The number of judges of High Courts and Honourable Supreme Court of India must be increased so as to dissolve and dispense pending cases as soon as possible.
To keep courts open throughout the year:
In order to agitate the pendency of cases it's necessary that the courts area unit open throughout the year, however, calendar of Supreme Courts (which is additionally applicable to different courts) provides week-long vacations every for Holi, Dussehra, Muharram, and Diwali in conjunction with the fortnight-long winter vacations.
Proper modernization of courts:
In the era of modernization, the court shouldn't be left behind. They have to be totally digitized and a correct infrastructure ought to be designed to produce easy accessibility. Technology constitutes one of the important aspect of modernization to which a large crowd has access to and is used by majority of the citizens.
Introduction of fast-track courts:
The eleventh Finance Commission counselled the creation of 1734 agency courts. These courts were established for efficient disposal of long unfinished cases in Sessions courts and different courts.
To do away with the archaic laws:
Indian Judiciary had appeared when Asian country attained her autonomy in 1947. The laws were created in step with the social condition at that time. Be that because it might, as of late, a good deal of law has clothed to be repetitive. Henceforth, it's time that the Indian Judicial framework gets obviate the bygone laws and mulls over the current social condition before giving a judgment. The Indian scheme has to forgoing of archaic laws and specialize in taking thought of the current social condition whereas giving a judgment.
Non-acceptance of frivolous cases:
Multiple times it's seen that a good political figure gets any quite case conceded within the official court. The case can be expelled at a later stage, however it squanders vital time of the legal. The judges ought to have clear instruction concerning the sort of cases they will settle for within the court.
The research paper has undoubtedly fulfilled its objectives to be studied. Through this research paper, it is found out that the judiciary of India Post Independence has taken a huge toll on the access to justice for the common public. It is observed and inferred that there is a fear in the minds of the common public to approach courts for justice since the process of dispensing justice tends to be very lengthy.
There are multiple cases pending in the High Courts of many states in India as well as the Honourable Supreme Court of India. It is also found out via the research paper that the system used for the appointment of judges to the courts serve inaccurate in proportion and in comparison to the number of pending cases. There are a countless number of factors affecting the smooth functioning of the judicial system of our country.
It is clearly found out that docket explosion has ultimately and gradually become an unlawful trend in the country and there are multiple number of practical solutions that are highly required to be implemented for the betterment of courts as well as the welfare of citizens of our country but are not being implemented, deepening the roots of the country’s judicial system and democracy to decay.
The researcher has mentioned and stated all the predominant challenges and issues hampering the smooth functioning of the judicial system of our country. It is significant to find a long term solution for the same. Therefore, the researcher of this research paper has provided suggestions above as the ‘solutions for the fastening of Indian Judiciary processes’. However, the researcher would be delighted to add a few long term suggestions for the improvisation of the challenges and issues.
Technological advancement is a key suggestion to most of the issues faced. Technology improves the efficiency of processes and quickens the pace for everything and in this way, would assist in the reduction of pending cases. Secondly, the Supreme Court must take up cases of utmost importance according to the intensity of case and dispense judgements in as many less hearings as possible. The introduction of fast track courts could be a helpful measure to combat these challenges.
There ought to be flexibility on the charges being kept nominal for proceedings for citizens who require justice but are unable to have access to the same due to a high amount. The right to access justice is a rudimentary right to all and measure should be taken to combat any kind of discrepancies interfering within the legal system and the judicial system of India.
An investigation of the various reports and accordingly the healing components plainly demonstrates that deficiency of select strength, delay in filling from opening and off arrangement of judges are the centre elements feeder towards the development of unfulfilled obligations. Most of the issues looked by the legal executive bringing about monstrous pendency and unpaid debts zone unit steady for as far back as seventy years.
Regardless of the various legal and body changes, the legal emergency has not been lessened. Unexpectedly, with the ascent of public cognizance, the matter of overdue debts and deferral have a great deal of extraordinary as of late endless bone of gathering activity in goal the emergency is that the greatness of insight between the legal executive and hence the government with respect to the proportions of answer.
There is little doubt upon the believability of the Indian judiciary system. It's one amongst the biggest judicial systems round the world having a law for nearly all kinds of criminal activities. If we glance at the history, the Supreme Court, since its inaugural sitting on twenty eighth of Gregorian calendar month 1950 has delivered over 25000 reported judgments. However the problems of corruption, unfinished cases, lack of transparency within the judiciary cannot be avoided. Therefore if the judicature removes these backlogs, we would be able to see Indian judicature because the best judicature within the world.
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NAME: DEVANSHI SAMEER BAVISI
INSTITUTIONAL AFFILIATION: NMIMS – KIRIT P. MEHTA SCHOOL OF LAW