Monday, June 15, 2009


The judicial system in India has been inherited from the English Law. There are several archaic laws which were enacted some around 100 years before India's independence and which are still operational and some of them are time tested for their efficiency and effective legal framework. The Civil Procedure Code, the Criminal Procedure Code and the Indian Evidence Act and various other legislation's governing the delivery of justice have been amended from time to time by successive Governments. None of these reforms, in most cases done halfheartedly in piecemeal, have been able to bring solution to some fundamental issues including -

  • Delay in delivery of justice and mounting of court cases for years after years at various levels of judicial hierarchy. It is the biggest hurdle in bringing justice to book.
  • The 21 high courts reported a pendency of 38.7 lakh cases as of January 1, 2009. At the trial level the pendency figure was 2.64 crore. In the Supreme Court, around 50,000 cases are reported pending in April 2009, here  also the cases languish for years and some time for decades.
Justice Delayed is Justice denied.

  • The Civil Procedure Code, the Criminal Procedure Code and principles of natural justice, as being currently practiced in India permit adjournments after adjournments.
  • With highest regards to judiciary and to the Indian judicial system, in a large number of cases, the judges are busy in considering matters again and again for short duration and on very fickle grounds adjournments are granted, in view of large number of cases listed for the day. This process gets repeated every time. Some time respondent’s lawyer seek adjournment and some time Hon’ble judge may not be available on the day of hearing for various personal or official reasons, which is quite natural, without any advance intimation or planning for adjournment.
  • There are a large number of vacancies in the judiciary at various levels. In the high courts 635 judges are functioning against the sanction strength of 886 whereas 13,556 judges function against the sanction positions of 16,685. Even the sanctioned posts are not enough to take the load of work.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court as well as various High Courts and the bureaucracy at the helm along with the top Indian leaders, all are aware of the difficulties being faced by the society at large due to the aforesaid delay. There is no adequate fear for judicial or legal system due the aforesaid delay. These delays result into lack of justice, unfair compromises, corruption and unfair practices prevalent in the entire system. The biggest result of the weakness in the judicial system is the mounting level of corruption. The biggest and most important deliverable by the government is social security law and
order. The absence of timely justice defeats various economic initiatives and severely impact inclusive growth. It is the commoner who is to suffer. It is suggested that the following actions may be undertaken by the new Government as its biggest priority:
  • Amendment to Criminal Procedure Code and Civil Procedure Code to reduce adjournments
  • Requiring presentation of all evidences / arguments at initial stages before judicial hearing
This can be checked by a strong judicial secretariat/ registry that need to ensure that cases come up for hearing only on completion of all necessary papers and evidences to be brought on record.
  • Guidelines by the apex court on invoking principles of natural justice without base and amendments to Indian Evidence Act.
  • Codification of law of torts
  • Extensive training of judicial secretariat and members of judiciary
  • Extensive use of e-governance, e-communication and e-filing to improve transparency
  • Appointment of adequate number of judges at various levels
  • Mandatory payment of adjournment fee by the parties
  • Mandatory detailed hearing of the case on all dates. Minor administrative, filing or documentation requirement may be completed by the parties in between 2 days, duly monitored by the judicial secretariat.
  • Prescribing maximum 4 or 5 hearings for majority of the cases barring few exceptions that the special approval of Chief Justice of the relevant High Courts.
  • Sanctioning the role of Registrar, Munshies and officials of the court.


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