Adjournment of cases has no ground for crying manpower. The solution is to drop out all dead board
Denial of ‘timely justice’ amounts to denial of ‘justice’ itself. Timely disposal of cases is essential for maintaining the rule of law and providing access to justice which is guaranteed fundamental right.
Many people discuss about the outdated laws but I do not think that antiquated laws have anything to do with backlog of cases. It is purely an administrative topic in which it is judiciary and the other organs of government namely Executive and legislature, both have to take their share of blame. It is a collective effort of both constitutional authorities namely the government and courts. Both are responsible for these backlogs and delay in justice.
Fast track courts are the favorite solution of many experts. As shortage of judges is a genuine issue, mere institutionalisation of fast track courts is not going to solve the problem. There is shortage of judges, then how do you expect fast track courts to function? You have to provide the judges. If you can’t recruit judges from the market, you may hire retired experienced judges. That is the easiest possible way to address the manpower issue. Then you will confront with the problem of infrastructure. If you want to get back retired judges; where will they sit? Where will the court run? These are the corollary questions we need to address.
Besides these two issues, there are many other factors that lead to piling up of cases. Let us start with the criminal case for example. Firstly an FIR is registered, the moment FIR is registerd; there is a tendency of police to arrest the man. So the police arrest a man who is accused but he is innocent till proven guilty. Once an FIR has been filed the police are legally bound to start investigating the case. Now either send the man in police custody, or judicial custody. Investigation may or may not have even progressed and without watching the progress of investigation the man is lying in jail.
Once the investigation has been concluded the police will record all their findings in a ‘Challan’. Most of the time challan is not filed on time and if it is filed on time, there is chance of a faulty challan. And this whole results pendency of case. After that If it is deemed that there is enough proof in the challan, the case goes to court.
Once the case is ready for hearing in the court, the prosecution will keep on dragging its feet for the custody and court will merely carry on granting remand. So one can say it is hand-in-gloves of investigating officer and court against the citizens. This is just a beginning. The prosecution will at least take 3 to 4 years to produce its witness. In the meantime, man continues to be in the jail. His rights are meaningless. Now because everything is in the court, knowingly or unknowingly court is violating his fundamental rights of freedom and liberty. This whole scenario clearly depicts that the pinpointed accountability is missing in the system. Unaccountability is the single most important reason behind the mounting backlog of cases. Nobody is accountable for delay in the procedures .
Judicial appointment is deemed to be one of the factors responsible for judicial hostilities. In the appointments, it is the High Court which lacks the responsibility. Collegium system is also blamed for appointment of judges. In most of the appointments, it is absolutely the wish of High Court and Supreme Court Collegium, whom they want to appoint. Also, there is no transparency in the appointments and for that judiciary and government is at loggerheads with each other. Rule of law does not apply to the judges of Supreme Court in their own appointments.
The parliament passes a law which Constitutionally can be set aside by judiciary. A bill passed by the Parliament unanimously with assent by more than 20 states can be struck down by the Supreme Court which is nothing but hijacking of Constitution. Nowhere in the world does a judiciary appoint itself except in India. We need to restore the balance expected in the Constitution.
Lastly, adjournment of cases has no ground for crying manpower. The solution is to drop out all dead board. Remove the judge who doesn’t function.
(As told to Nishant Kr Azad, Organiser)