The legal maxim ‘Justice delayed is Justice denied’ means that if a legal remedy is available for a party, but has been not carried out at the right time, even if it was carried out later, it is not real justice due to the fact that when there was a demand for justice, there was a lack for the same. The principle is based on the right to speedy trials and other similar rights, which were meant to expedite the legal system because the victim suffered unfairly and sustained injury with little hope for resolution.
There are certain inherently tied up reasons which contribute reasons for these judicial delays. Firstly, it becomes necessary to admit that there is a deficiency in the number of judges which gives rise to the question if increasing the number of judges will also speed up the adjudicatory process, and certainly the answer cannot be in negative terms. Secondly, the ever-increasing appeals makes the settlement of claims long drawn. Appeals such as pass over, non- appearance of the advocates, and at times non availability of the judges equally contribute to the inordinate delays in settling the cases. Suppose, if the advocate does not appear, it might result in an ex parte order, for which the advocate will strenuously argue to set aside the order, which in turn will give rise to another petition altogether.
The need of the hour is to have a rational and a realistic approach instead of an ideological approach in the absence of reality, for bringing down reasonable degree of delays while rendering justice. In J. Jayalalitha v. Union of India, the defendant had hoarded assets beyond her known sources of income, for which the complaint was flied in June, 1996. A year later, in 1997, the first charge-sheet was filed for the same. The final verdict was delivered by Supreme Court of India in 2017 against the defendant, nearly twenty years after the charge sheet was filed, but by this time the defendant had already passed away.
The High Court of Madhya Pradesh in Vinod Giri & Ors. vs. Sachiv Gram Panchayat Malhargarh said,” Adjournments are growing like a cancer, which is eroding the system. A time has come, where the Bar has to raise its standard and must fulfill the expectations of the litigating parties, for early disposal of the cases. Justice delayed justice denied. The Bar must not try to create hurdles in the justice dispensation system, by unnecessarily seeking adjournments……”
The eCourts Project was conceptualized on the basis of the “National Policy and Action Plan for Implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Indian Judiciary – 2005” submitted by eCommittee, which is a body constituted by the Government of India in pursuance of a proposal received from Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India to constitute an eCommittee to assist him in formulating a National policy on computerization of Indian Judiciary and advise on technological communication and management related changes. This project envisaged to provide efficient and time-bound citizen centric services, implement and install decision support systems in courts, and so on.
The need of the hour is to increase the number of judges and courtrooms, which also makes it important that we choose to appoint the most highly qualified judges of extreme intellect and grit. Secondly, there is a pressing need to increase the tribunals and quasi- judicial bodies especially where the number of matters are in an unprecedented increase. Moreover, we need to establish a scrutiny committee or a scrutiny cell that would screen cases that need to go to the court, and the rest which can be settled through the alternate dispute resolution systems of Arbitration, mediation, conciliation, and so on.
Judge Jerome Frank of the US Court of Appeal said “I am unable to conceive that in a democracy it can never be unwise to acquaint the public with the truth about the workings of any branch of government. It is wholly undemocratic to treat the public as children who are unable to accept the inescapable shortcomings of man-made institutions. The best way to bring about the elimination of those shortcomings for our judicial system which is capable of rising elimination is to have all our citizens informed as to how that system now actually functions. it is a mistake, therefore, to try to establish and maintain through ignorance, public esteem for our courts.”
There are at least 30 million cases pending the courts at the moment and by estimate it will take 360 years to resolve all of them. Herein I quote the former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju that,”It will take unanimous and cumulative efforts by all to achieve the required progress in judicial reforms. We need radical reforms and a strong-willed to truly make a difference.”
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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