H C Singh

Justice and Injustice

 All are familiar with old saying: Justice delayed is justice denied. In India millions of cases are pending for unaccountable years. But in no country of the world such a huge number of cases remain pending, some even for decades from lower to higher courts. It is unjust, undemocratic and startling. For example, starting from lower courts where 27.2 million cases are pending, while before High Courts pending cases are 4.49 million and before the Supreme Court cases pending by 31 December 2009 were 55,791. It is noteworthy that despite clearance of 64,259 cases every year in various courts more than 5000 cases are added in the backlog.

Thus the problem in India is how to clear all the yearly cases and also the backlog of pending millions of cases. It is a very serious problem for judiciary as well as the government of India.

One important step, though yet to be fully implemented, is the Gram Nayalya Act. Under this Act which has been passed by the government all the states have been instructed to implement this expeditiously. Every Panchayat will have a Gram Nayalya or rural court, which will be headed by one qualified judge and two/three members will be provided by the Panchayat. There are more than 5000 village Panchayats which are functioning. If in addition there are 5000 Gran Nyalyas or rural courts millions of cases in lower courts will not get accumulated but there will be prompt judgment and justice. Thus there won’t be Justice delayed amounting to injustice in lower or rural courts. As there would be fear or hope of instant justice, many people will hesitate to go to court on flimsy grounds.

This system of expeditious justice in one’s locality is prevalent in UK where so called lower courts, without qualified judge or judges, are manned by respectable citizens, who are well educated and non-controversial. They decide expeditiously in one hearing the case brought before them. There is rarely an appeal against their decision or judgment. Their decision are accepted and honoured. In India, too, this procedure of Gram Nyalyas or rural courts if fully accepted and implemented in all 5000 villages will reduce more than 50% cases before the lower courts.

Example of England’s local ‘courts’ is very relevant and useful for village courts or Gram Nyalyas. As in England, in due course, India can experiment with local urban courts. If this experiment succeeds, we can drastically reduce pending cases and avoid further accumulation at all.

For regular courts, in districts, like Session Courts and High Courts, there should be double, the number of Judges and benches in a number of diversely populated Districts. This system, if adopted, will reduce from millions to thousands of pending cases in a few years.

Similarly, Supreme Court may have double the number judges it has at present to expedite the judgment on pending cases and new cases that come before it.

Judges in India, as elsewhere, are already paid high salaries and provided with security, residence and personal transport so that they can administer law expeditiously and according to the principles of justice and legal procedure. If it is considered further rise in their salaries and other amenities these should be provided.

If these suggestions, with modifications, are accepted and implemented, the number of pending cases in all courts in India will come down drastically and people will not have to wait for justice for year after year.

Few instances of Justice- Injustice are as under:

After 26 year of anti-Sikh riots in which according to official estimates more than 3000 innocent Sikhs were killed, not a single criminal has been convicted and sentenced. Another case is of Gujarat riots following death by sabotage of train in which more than 70 pilgrims, coming back to Ahmadabad. A number of commissions have been appointed and finally Chief Minister of Gujarat has been interrogated for 8 hours. Obviously there has been absolute injustice in 1984 case while in Gujarat case there may be further delay leading to justice delayed or injustice.

There are other individual cases of inordinate delay in judgment. Sibu Soren, who is now Chief Minister of Jharkhand was convicted and sent to jail in a double murder case of 36 years old. After release from jail he became Cabinet Minister at centre. He has been questioned/ interrogated by a Jharkhand Court recently on April 3, 2010. Is this Justice or Injustice? Other individual case is 14 years old of Ex DGP Rathore who had molested a 14 year old school girl Ruchika. The case is now taking turn against Rathore as he has been finally convicted.

It is clear from few cases mentioned above that influential officers like DGP and politicians, like Lalu Prasad Yadav, who has now been given relief by Supreme Court, was originally convicted in Fodder Scam case and had to resign from Chief Ministership of Bihar, can delay justice.

To expedite justice and avoid injustice steps outlined above like implementation of Gram Nayalya, Local locality courts on UK model and induction of more judges in District courts and Supreme Court, may be taken by the Government India on top priority basis.

April 14, 2010 Posted by | Anti Sikh Riots 1984, Indian Economy, Political Commentary, Politics | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments