Since March 2020, provided the major outbreak of life threatening pandemic COVID-19, structured exertion of all the functioning courts nationwide were restrictively terminated, with uneasy shift of regular physical courts to virtual ones, the solitary option subsequent.
The records show there were around 3.68 crores of cases approximately pending across all the levels at the beginning of the pandemic; which here and now in 2021 has spiked close to 4.42 crore.
The delays and inefficiency in concluding the matter has always been a matter of concern in the Indian Judiciary to which the pandemic has acted as a complementary add on.
The present scenario aver that the expeditious and effective justice can only be fetched, if Judicial reforms are taken seriously.
CAUSES OF DELAY
Various factors can be held responsible for the delay in providing Justice smoothly, with the well framed structure there exist lack and loops creating the situation more than a stimulating disorder. Few of such delay factors can be looked in some way as:
• Dearth of strength: Despite of a particular sanctioned strength within judiciary at different levels, the vacancies are not completely filled. With the sanctioned strength of 34(33+1) in the highest court “The Hon’ble Supreme court” only 27 Justices are currently serving including CJI. India has 15-19 judges per 10 lakh cases in India with average time of trial in lower judiciary per case being 10+ years, which is 2-5 years in the High courts.
• Substandard state of Subordinate Judiciary: Across the country, the district and subordinate courts lack developed infrastructure leading in lagging of mechanism, restrictive action taking powers and dependency over HCs for minor things including technical incapacities.
Inclusive of evidentiary digital division between Bar-bench and clients in metropolitan cities and other jurisdictions. Having mentioned, even if the solutions are provided unfortunately to overcome technical benightedness, the awareness for same will take years to develop prospected state.
• Regular executive Litigant: Role of government in “Poorly drafted orders have resulted in contested tax revenues equal to 4.7 per cent of the GDP which is continuously rising”.
• Under-crowded investments: Due to poor drafts and orders of injunctions for the same, nearly 50,000 crore approx of estimated value is locked up with no further investments in the same.
• Insufficient budgets: The budget allocated to the judiciary is between 0.08 and 0.09 per cent of the GDP. Comparatively with the population and regularly increasing numbers of cases, the budget criteria stand distinctly restricting the flow of proposed work mechanism in a healthy way.
While it is not unusual to predict by anybody that the state of judiciary and the mechanism to develop upto the standards it’s expected to is surely going to take years. But small steps can definitely change the image. Some of the quick suggestions with active political influence and will can be looked upto as:
• Increase in strength: Initial increase in the strength of the judicial services by appointing more judges with active involvement from the bar straightly, not only within the bottom of hierarchy but at the Apex court level as well. Justice Indu Malhotra was the first women to elevate to the bench directly from the bar, which provides us with the point of view of how difficult it becomes at time to succeed elevation process. Increase in strength and considering elevation process to be inexhaustive with determination of distinct appointment mechanism can also be a strike to the stone of rigidity within judiciary.
• All india judicial services– Alike UPSC (Union public services commission) , judicial appointments must also be considered nationally. With current situation of few of the states having High courts conducting the judicial examinations and several others via State PSCs. There must lie a separate All india prospect for appointments and healthy regularisation within the justice system.
• Adequate allocating infrastructure: Without necessary expenditure and in hand freedom of economic aid judicial developement entirely cannot be imagined.
However, “The recommendations of the Fifteenth Finance Commission and the India Justice Report 2020 have raised the issue and suggested ways to earmark and deploy funds”.
• Summarily concluding unnecessary PILs: The pendency include a major proportion of PILs ,some of which are pending at the High court level from more than 10+ years, summary concluding the ones with no specific weighed question with subject matter, can help decreasing the burden of courts to shift on the worthy discussable issues.
• Alternative Dispute Resolution Promotion: Before moving directly to courts, the system of Arbitration, conciliation, lok Adalats, mediation, gram nyayalays must be mandatorily recommended. Specifically to commercial disputes which can be highly effective.
The pendency of cases, unimaginable situations as the pandemic, technical, infrastructural and budgetary hurdles, the judicial reforms appear to be one of the most important issues to be resolved within time for the spate of quick access to justice and robust lead to healthy democracy for the country.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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