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ISSUES PERTAINING TO THE CONTEMPORARY INDIAN JUDICIARY


INTRODUCTION:


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:

  • LITIGATION EXPLOSION:


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.


  • RISEN POPULATION:


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.

  • CORRUPTIVE PRACTICES:


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 par