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Swift, Vigorous, Accessible And Modern Inning Of Justice In India (Aka Svamiji)

During my legal studies and as a citizen of India, I always wonder why our courtrooms are always full of complaints! Why there are so many pending cases all across the country? Is it Illiteracy, lack of knowledge, or lack of system, or incompetence of people attached to the Justice System of India, or all of them all to gather?

What exactly the problem is which is troubling almost each and every citizen of my country directly or indirectly? On the other hand, I happen to meet many known people who never intended to visit any court of law. I did ask them what is bothering them by asking for justices of law guarded by one of the longest constitutions of the world?

Almost all of them are having a common concern that I came to know is that either mentally they are not prepared to wait for too long for the justices or they are fearful of the possible outcome of the process. On the other hand, many businessmen did convey to me that they are using our slow judicial system for their monetary benefits as well, which was very surprising to me.

Misuse of the Judicial System is a new concept to me. I do agree with one notation that any kind of delay is going to benefit someone somehow and also we have to keep in mind that "Justice Hurry is Justice Buried".

Discussion:
After completing my Masters in Law, I was preparing for Ph.D. The very first step of being a research student is to identify the problem which is causing trouble to society at large and at the same time also to understand the urgency towards the solution to the problem. During the process of problem identifying, I did read some Thesis, dissertations, research papers, critiques, and essays published by random researchers.

After reading the number of research work I understand one simple fact that it seems almost impossible to locate one specific problem where I can contribute with full thrust. So started to look back on my own experiences. And bingo I found the problem right there, "Delay in Justices."

With the help of available data let's undergo a test of the Indian Judicial System. Also, let's evaluate this statement in the first place. Data published by the honorable Supreme Court of India on 02-05-2022 shows that the total number of pending cases in the Supreme Court of India is 70,572 cases [1].

In the year 2011 total number of pending cases in the Supreme Court of India was 58,519 cases; which shows that there is an increase of 20.59 % of total pending cases in the last 11 years. Let's also check the pendency of cases in the High Courts and District Courts of India. In the year 2011 total pending cases in India were 43,22,198 cases and on 22-05-2022 total number of pending cases in Indian HC and DC is a staggering 4.81 Crore Case [2].

Again this shows that there is a rise of 1112.85% of the total pending cases during the last 11 years. By the way of comparison the data stated above under any circumstance, it is very difficult to assume that presently there is an efficient Judicial System operating in India. In statistics-based data comparison, we always tend to assume that the conclusion derived from the comparison is true in itself.

Delay in Justice is a topic that affects every citizen directly or indirectly in one or another way. In other words, none of us are immune from this contamination. Due to the intensity of the subject, there is a lot of data and research work performed by many research scholars. Because of so much digitalisation and ease of access to relevant data, it was very difficult for me to concentrate on particular data in order to review them. So I started to focus on the most reliable source of data, the Law Commission of India.

During my hunt for literature on "Delay in Justices" I came to know that the very first report presented by the Law Commission of India to the Government of India was back in 1958 by Shri M. C. Setalvad and following that more than another 25 reports under the title of "Judicial Reforms in India."

Coming back to recent times from the era of independence, when India was termed an "Under Developed Country." Due to unmatched and continuous efforts by various Governments and Policies now India is a "Developing" country by not just one term but many, yet in recent times the USA declared India as a "Developed" country to gain personal and monetary benefits as a country[3].

By re-categorizing India, as a "Developed" country the USA has triggered India to check or maybe double-check its actual position as a nation that holds the 6th largest GDP rank in the world. [4]

World Bank in its annual report of "Doing Business" included India as a participant country. There are different categories through which The World Bank determines the ranking of the participating country. One of these categories is "Enforcing Contract". By the term Enforcing Contract the framers of "Doing Business" intend to point out how efficient the judiciary is in a participating country.

As per data mentioned in TABLE O.2, The 10 economies improved the most across three or more areas measured by Doing Business in 2018/19[5] under the head of Enforcing contracts; India did not receive the tick mark. Isn't this no tick indicating that now it is high time to double-check the actual position of India in its real context as a "Developed", "Developing" or "Under Developed" the country through an Investigative Report to check its actual position in Justice System?

If we are aiming ourselves toward one of the "Developed" countries, we must have a "Swift, Vigorous, Accessible & Modern Justice System" by all means and at every level of Judicial Administration across the nation.

Let's examine a few Reports of the Law Commission of India in the area of Reforms in the Indian Justice System.

Report - 14 Volume - I & Volume - II, [6]
Dated 26-09-1958.- Chaired by M. C. Setalvad.

Title: Reform of Judicial Administration.

Comments:
While and an attempt has been made to go into all matters covered by the terms of reference we have for obvious reasons, not entered into a detailed examination of either of the procedural codes or of the laws of evidence with a view to suggesting amendments. We have considered ourselves to indicating in broad outline the changes that would be necessary to make judicial administration speedy and less expensive.

The detailed examination and revision of the codes of civil and criminal procedure is a task which calls for a considerable time. Such a revision on the basis of our general recommendations will have to be undertaken hereafter.

The manner in which the Commission conducted its investigation in this branch of its inquiry has been set forth at length in the introductory chapter. The large volume of material collected for this purpose was put into the shapes of notes for a draft report by the secretariat of the Commission. A draft report was then prepared and circulated to the members. The draft was an after a final discussion settled by the chairman.

With this report, the Commission at present constituted concludes its labors. The task of revising the central acts of general importance and making suggestions for the reforms of the law is, however, far from being over. Much of the work undertaken in this connection is still unfinished and will have to be completed.

By the way of Questionnaire, Primary and Secondary Data Collection Method, Discussion Method and Non-Doctrinal (Socio-Legal Research) Method, The Commission has "Recommended" their recommendations to The Law Minister of India, with an extensive 1282 pages of Investigative report for "Reform of Judicial Administration."

Report number - 77, [6]
Dated 27-11-1978. - Chaired by H. R. Khanna.

Title: Delay and Arrears in Trial Courts.

Comments:
The subject was taken up for consideration pursuant to the terms of the reference of the Law Commission, according to which the Commission, should inter alia, keep under review the system of judicial administration to secure elimination of delays and speedy clearance of arrears. By the way of the Questionnaire issued by the Law Commission, The Commission has "Reviewed" the entire Judicial System of Trial Courts in India and suggested some General Suggestion, Conclusions along with Recommendations.

The Commission has specifically focused on the subject under the title of "Problem of Delay and Arrears in Trial Courts" with keeping in mind;
  1. The Trial Court Judge
  2. The Present System Evaluated - Comparison with the ancient judicial system.
  3. Stages of delay - Summons.
  4. Pleadings and Issues: The pre-trial procedure.
  5. Court Dairy and Evidence and Substitution of legal representative.
  6. Arguments, Judgements, and Decree
  7. Conciliation.
  8. Recruitment and Personality of the trial judge: Inspection of courts and training of judicial officers.
  9. Cases under certain special acts.
  10. Execution.
  11. Criminal Cases.

Report number - 221, [6]
Dated 30-04-2009.
Chaired by Dr. AR. Lakshmanan.

Title: Need for Speedy Justice - Some Suggestions

Comments:
Mounting of arrears of cases in courts, particularly in High Courts and District Courts, has been a cause of great concern for litigants as well as for the State. It is a fundamental right of every citizen to get speedy justice and speedy trial which also is the fundamental requirement of good judicial administration. In this report, we have made a few proposals which when given effect, will be helpful not only in providing speedy justice but also in controlling frivolous, vexatious, and luxurious litigations.

The Law Commission took up the study "Suo Motu" and recommends the following amendments:
Amendment of section 80 and Order V of CPC and also the concerned Court's Rules - In order to shorten delay, it is necessary that provisions parallel to section 80 CPC be introduced for all kinds of civil suits and cases proposed to be filed by a litigant.

2. Amendment of sections 378, 397, and 401 CrPC - 6
  1. In complaint cases also, appeal against an order of acquittal passed by a Magistrate to the Sessions Court be provided, of course, subject to the grant of special leave by it.
  2. Where the District Magistrate or the State does not direct the Public Prosecutor to prefer an appeal against an order of acquittal, the aggrieved person or the informant should have the right to prefer an appeal, though with the leave of the Appellate Court.
  3. There should be only one forum for filing revisions against orders passed by Magistrates, that is, the Sessions Court, instead of two alternative forums as now provided.
  4. The Legislature should specifically categorize revisable orders, instead of leaving the matter to confusion caused by various interpretations of the expression "interlocutory order".
Amendment of Transfer of Property Act 1882 - It should be made mandatory that the consideration for every sale shall be paid through Bank Draft.

By the way of "Suo Motu" steps and collecting data entirely based on the "Doctrinal" method The Commission, has "suggested" several amendments to the Code of Civil Procedure 1908, Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, and Transfer of Property Act 1882.
---

In the absence of data, it is next to impossible to evaluate the outcome of suggestions given by various eminent in their reports to the Law Commission of India. But we can always appreciate one thing; they were in continuation of the process to improve Indian Justice System until 2009. On 05-08-2009, Dr. Justice AR. Lakshmanan submitted his Report number 230 with the title, "Reforms in the Judiciary - Some Suggestions." If we take a close look at the chronological order in the year 2009, our Government stopped the process of improving the Indian Justice System, isn't it...?

Shouldn't we need to re-start once again with a similar point of view and research methodology opted by Shri M C Setalvad to formulate, study, understand and conclude along with relevant solutions of contemporary interest to the problem of "Delay in Justice" in India?

Why can't we one more time conduct a nationwide Survey, Personal Interview, Questionnaire, and try to study the case of "Delay in Justice" in India? Yes, it is time to collect Primary and Secondary data from various District Courts, High Courts, Supreme Court, Tribunals, Retired Judges, Senior Advocates, Bureaucrats, Reformers, and Most Senior Politicians from across India. This will be one of a kind Socio-Legal Research of times and will definitely help the Indian Justice System more than one way. I am sure that such quantitative and qualitative data-based research will gather enough data not only for India but for all of those countries who are looking for Swift, Vigorous, Accessible, and Modern Justice System for their citizen.

Conclusion:
The desired outcome of such research work would be in a position to offer an advanced theory for the Indian Judicial System which will be equipped with Unique Swiftness, Vigorous in kind, Accessible by all, Modern in approach, and Digitally advanced system to any government whose motive is to provide a Law-abiding Society, Social Security, and Economic Growth of the citizen which can be simply termed as "Complete Development."

Reference:
  1. https://main.sci.gov.in/statistics (Last Visited 22-05-2022)
  2. https://ecourts.gov.in/ecourts_home/ (Last Visited 22-05-2022)
  3. https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/india-is-a-developed-economy-and-ineligible-for-gsp-benefits-us-120021200131_1.html (Last Visited 22-05-2022)
  4. https://www.businessinsider.in/top-10-largest-economies-in-the-world/articleshow/70547252.cms (Last Visited 22-05-2022)
  5. https://www.worldbank.org/en/programs/business-enabling-environment/doing-business-legacy (Reports of World Bank on doing business for the year 2020.) (Last Visited 22-05-2022)
  6. https://lawcommissionofindia.nic.in (Last Visited 22-05-2022)

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