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Dissatisfaction Of Common People With Judicial System

Common people these days are dissatisfied with the Judicial System. And that is happening because of some very big drawbacks or inability of our judicial system. Our judicial system is lacking behind in some very important fields and here I will be discussing some of the big issues of the Indian Judiciary today among many other.

The first one is Pendency of cases and Delay in Judgements. Now these two issues are the core of common people having the dissatisfaction with our judiciary today because the number of pending cases are very high in numbers and they poses a serious threat to the capacity of Indian Judiciary because even with the pendency there is no guarantee that the judgement will be fair to the aggrieved person.

This problem is mainly rooted in District and High Courts where people approach at the beginning seeking justice. This has also raised a very important question that will these delays can ensure a fair trial to the parties of the cases. And this is why these issues of pending cases and delay in judgements is a serious threat to our judiciary and a very big reason for the dissatisfaction for judiciary among common people for the judiciary that even after investing so much time and money in fighting the cases and there is still no certainty that whether the trail will be fair or not. But these two reasons are not the only reasons for the dissatisfaction as the lawyers and judges also contributes largely to the problem of dissatisfaction from judiciary by common people.

Which brings me to my second point and that is No Accountability of Advocates or Judges. Sometimes the number of days or months or years the court takes to decide a case it has been felt among the people that judges and lawyers themselves doesn't want to ever catch up with the pending cases.

For example-in the famous Ram Janam Bhumi case the courts kept adjourning the matter for years by various reasons like sometimes the lawyers were not prepared and it was not even considered as Fast Track case considering it was such a big issue, no accountability was held on the lawyers as to why they were not prepared.

So, this type of attitude raises the question and very serious one that:
Does the Judiciary Takes their work Seriously? At the present time there are more than 35 million cases pending in India and all the courts plays a very important role in keeping it that way including Supreme court. A very good example of the above stated statement is that in the year of 1999 an amendment came which provided that any court could grant only three adjournments during the hearing of a suit and it fixed an upper limit as prior to 1999 there was no limits as to how many adjournments a court can grant during a suit.

However, in the case of Salem Advocate Bar Association-II in 2005, the Supreme Court interpreted this restriction as not curtailing the courts power to allow more than three adjournments. Although this decision have been revoked by tens of High courts decisions which proudly claims the court's inherent rights to endlessly adjourns, this decision has had has an active afterlife and it was a big step to fight the problem of pending cases.

But is it enough? And the answer is NO because mere written laws are not being applied in day to day cases as it is and that is because of another very important issue which is also the third and the last issue which I would be discussing today.

The 1999 Amendment fixed the timeframe for yet another important provision which directly impacted the court's general power to extend timelines. It specifically disallowed the courts from enlarging the time granted by them for doing any act prescribed or allowed by the Code beyond a maximum period of 30 days.

However, in the same 2005 case, the Supreme Court interpreted this timeframe as one not attenuating the inherent power of Indian courts to pass orders as may be necessary for the ends of justice or to prevent abuse of process of the Court. In order to curb the practice of non-prosecution of cases filed by litigants, the 1999 Amendment also fixed an outer timeline of 30 days for service of summons on defendants.

However, in 2003, in the case of Salem Advocate Bar Association-I (AIR 2003 SC 189) the Supreme Court interpreted this to mean that 30 days limit designated only the outer timeframe within which steps must be taken by the plaintiff to enable the court to issue the summons. In other words, the court held that the provision did not specify a time limit within which summons ought to be served on the defendant by the court. Insertion of another timeframe that was pivotal to curbing delays was introduced in 2002. Prior to 2002, a written statement could be filed within any time as permitted by the court.

The 2002 Amendment incorporated a mandatory outer timeline for filing written statement by not allowing the courts to accept it beyond a period of 90 days from the date of service of summons. However, in the 2005 judgment of Kailash vs Nanhku (AIR 2005 SC 2441), the Supreme Court relaxed this statutorily prescribed deadline by interpreting it as merely directory and not mandatory. It held that courts could use their discretion in unspecified exceptional circumstances to accept delayed written statements.

This case has been applied as a virtual carte blanche by lawyers to file written statements beyond 90 days as a matter of course. Thus the exceptional has become the new normal. Evidently, in each of these illustrations, the Supreme Court relaxes the timeframe inserted by the amendments and restores to the courts discretion to dilute them in accordance with the courts' perceived sense of justice. These illustrations are not merely fragmentary instances. Similar examples of the undoing of procedure may be found for nearly every provision in the Code that contains a time limit.

These illustrations are in fact, a sampling of the adjudicatory manoeuvres by which the Supreme Court has unwittingly come to countenance delay, in contradiction to the express wordings and intent of the Code. In addition, phrases like procedures are the handmaiden of justice, frequently invoked by the Supreme Court, serve as lexical alibis by which departures from procedure are introduced and justified.

The last issue is the Corruption in Judiciary which is a bitter truth of our judiciary as the corruption is rooted on almost every step of the judiciary and is also a very big reason which keeps in motion the above two stated issues. This is issue that we will discuss today will be in detail as this is the reason for the above two problems at a large extent because as the corruption being present at almost every step of judiciary it is not hard to deduce that it also affects the decisions and the proceeding of judiciary at a large extent. The sheer number of cases pending in the Indian judicial system (over 25 Million) says it all.

Given that, and the number of judges across various states (per lakh of population), the system is rife with delays and inefficiencies -- ideal conditions for middlemen to step in and there are several elements through which I will try to explain this issue. The first one is Inaccessibility', The judicial system is highly dilatory, expensive, and beyond the reach of the common man. Ordinary citizens find it hard to seek redress, as litigation is expensive and extra money is often required to oil the wheels of the system. The Second is Misuse of Power.

There are instances of Metropolitan Magistrates issuing bailable arrest warrants against individuals of whose identities he has no idea, in return for an inducement like Some time back, a Metropolitan Magistrate in Ahmedabad issued bailable arrest warrants against the President of India in return for an inducement of Rs 40,000. And several other instances of these types have been reported by the media but no action has resulted. Third one is Difficult Impeachment Process,

The Supreme Court of India has ruled that no first information report (FIR) can be registered against a judge, nor, a criminal investigation initiated without prior approval of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Once appointed, a judge of the High Court or Supreme Court cannot be sacked except by a complicated impeachment process, done by members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, the two houses of Indian parliament.

Their immunity is reinforced by the fact that the procedure isn't just cumbersome but also susceptible to political influence. In the 1990s, when the Congress was in power, a motion seeking to impeach Justice V Ramaswami could not be passed by parliament as Congress members of parliament abstained from voting.

There have been no other attempts at impeachment in India. And this shows that there is political interference in our Judicial system which is not a good sign for the judiciary of any country. The last one is Slow and Inefficiency, Many cases drag on for years and the common excuse is the lack of staff, but the judicial process itself is unnecessarily complicated and inefficient, making cases drag on for a long time.

Bribes are sometimes ought to advance the judgement or bend it. At last count, some 35 million cases were pending in Indian courts. Now the reason that people are forced to either bribe the judge or the lawyer is because they know that it is necessary to get or bend the judgement or at least receive a judgement since the fact that there are over 35 million cases still pending says it all.

Another rising issue among common people is about the number of working days of courts in India because in the whole year the courts remains closed for more than 100 days for instance in the last year the supreme court was closed for 138 days minus the number of holidays judges can take personally.

So, if our apex court takes this much holidays when there is only one apex court the rest can be assumed that how many holidays the lower courts have in a year and still at this rate our judiciary hopes to catch up with over 35 million pending cases which seems next to impossible. So, for almost 6 months they are on holiday although they need time to study hard cases but to grant justice to people is also their duty so they have to make a balance betwwen the two because as the famous proposition is there that Justice delayed as Justice denied.

So, in the conclusion we can say that even that I have discussed the issue of corruption in the last but by looking at the current affairs and the cases on retired judges of bribes and corruption that our judiciary is affected by the corruption on a large scale and the other issues like pending cases, delay in judgements, accountability of advocates or judges actually comes under the wing of corruption minus the issue of number of working days of courts in India.

Of course it is true that the lack of staff is a genuine reason but it is not hard to deduce by looking at the facts that the lack of staff is not the only reason for inefficiency of the Indian judiciary and that is probably the main reason as to why Common People are so Dissatisfied by the Performance of Indian Judiciary these days.

Written By:
  1. Arpit Dhaka, College - Manipal University Jaipur
    E-mail – [email protected]
  2. Mukul Bajaj, College - Manipal University Jaipur
    E-mail – [email protected]

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