How to speed up the snail paced Indian judicial system?
There is a common proverb that says, - ‘Justice delayed is justice denied.’
Now, if the Indian judicial system is considered for judging the truthfulness of this proverb, several cases will be found as its testimony.
For instance, till December 31, 2022, there were over 4.32 crore pending cases in the subordinate and district courts of India.
Glaring scenario of delayed cases in India
Among the glaring instances of delayed justice include the famous Nirbhaya case of 2012. The justice for the case was delayed for seven years after which the criminals were hanged.
India saw a similar scenario in cases like the infamous Bhopal Gas Tragedy of 1984, the Aarushi Talwar Murder case of 2008 and Pallavi Purkayastha murder case of 2012, and lots more.
The Bhopal Gas Tragedy, which started on December 2-3, 1984, is still an unresolved case after 39 years.
Again, if we look at the Aarushi Talwar murder case which occurred on May 16, 2008, dragged till 2017 when the Talwar couple challenged the verdict of the
If we look at the Pallavi Purkayastha murder case too, it will be found that it occurred on August 9, 2012. It has not been resolved till date. The reason is, the convict was released on parole in February 2016 with the order that he has to report back in November of the same year. Unfortunately, he has been absconding since then.
The most heinous and very high profile Nirbhaya case that occurred on 16 December 2012 took seven long years after which the four convicts were finally hanged.
Regrettably, the list of such cases of delayed or denied justice in India is overwhelming. The situation in the judicial system of India is in such a pitiful state that almost 57% of the district and subordinates remain pending for more than ten years.
The root causes of delay in justice
A common question that may be circulating in our minds is why is the scenario of the Indian judiciary so heart wrenching. The answer is, several factors are there that are contributing to this delay in the Indian judicial system.
One of the possible reasons may be a lack of strategies for solving cases of similar types. There might be a dearth of infrastructures that can track the backlogs and delayed cases and hasten their justice. There may be some serious loopholes in the internal management structure of the Indian judicial system that are unknown to the common masses.
In an interview with a leading newspaper, the former judge of the Supreme Court indicated that at the gross level, is mostly the flawed scenario of the lower courts. There is a lack of proper coordination between the lower courts and high courts as far as sharing and access to high-resolution legal data is concerned.
Even most concerning, according to Jagdish Singh Khehar, former Chief Justice of India is that many of the lower courts do not have data on the exact dates when specific cases were filed. This makes it even more challenging to track the pending cases properly and make plans for their prompt resolution.
What can be the possible solutions
In response to the question regarding the solutions to overcome these delays, The Mallinath Committee headed by the former Chief Justice of Karnataka and Kerala High Court, Justice V.S. Malimath has given some recommendations:
- The cases which have a punishment sentence of three years or below must be tried summarily.
- Again, the cases in which the punishments could be awarded in summary trials may be increased to three years.
- The authority to exercise summary power must be given to all Judicial Magistrates First Class instead of limiting them to the specially empowered magistrate.
- Reconsiderations should be made regarding the vacation period and working period of both the apex court
sand the high court.
While several such recommendations have been made, the future will decide if the Indian judiciary will be able to give the Indian public prompt justice.
Ms. Apara Bhattacharya
Bureau Chief – Kolkatta
Ms. Shail Raghuvanshi