In India, being involved in litigation is considered as one of the worst misfortunes. It isn’t just the quality of the justice served, the worst part is the loss of time and money in the process. All this has completely shaken the faith of people in Indian judicial system. To take an overview of the situation, let’s take a look at some scary facts.
- 27 million cases are pending in Indian courts. 60,000 in Supreme Courts, 4.5 million in High Courts and 22 million in district courts.
- Two third of all the pending cases are criminal cases.
- One tenth of the cases are pending for more than a decade.
- On an average, an Indian judge clears 43 cases in a year, while there are about 1400 cases pending on each judge.
- In order to dispose these cases in near future Indian government must appoint 15,000 extra judges.
- Every year millions of new cases are added to the list.
This isn’t the whole picture. Most of Indian people, especially those belonging to poor sections of society, do not file a case as they are well aware that it won’t lead to any result. They, more than anyone, suffer from the injustice that is served in the country.
There are many criminals that roam free because the criminal charges upon them are not yet proved. Such criminals have all the rights that every other Indian Citizen has. They can vote, they can travel abroad and they can even contest elections. And shocking as it may seem, even one third of the present members of parliament have unproved criminal charges upon them.
All this isn’t without a cause. It is a reflection of some serious flaws that are embedded in the very core of Indian judicial system. Until or unless these flaws are removed, we cannot expect the situation to get any better. As a matter of fact, it will become worse. So, let’s take a look at some of those flaws.
- Lack of Judges
Indian judges aren’t inefficient, they are overworked. The country has an average of 17.72 judges per million of population, while it should have at least 50. At present, nearly 5000 vacant posts of judges are vacant. The main reason behind this is poorly paid position of a judge. No lawyer would choose to become a judge as lawyers earn much more than judges.
- Frequent Delays
Indian court is infamous for its delays. Lawyers often strategically delay the case so that they can earn more money from the litigants that they represent. Even trivial causes like, witness being late, lawyer feigning sickness or not showing up, can delay the case for many years.
In India, if a person doesn’t get justice in a local or a district court, then he can appeal in higher courts. Under normal circumstances, this would have resulted in better judicial system. But, as Supreme Court and High Court are already dealing with millions of pending cases, it further intensifies the problem.
- Lack of Importance
Apparently, Indian government has been negligent in handling this matter. In the budget of 2016, only 0.2% was given to the law ministry. It is a terribly small amount. Unless the government provides more fund to the law ministry, it can’t tackle the matter.
- Low Judicial Quality in local courts
It is more or less the result of lack of importance. Indian local courts have a very poor infrastructure and they are easily influenced by money and politics. All this severely affects the quality of their decision.
With all these problems on our heads, court reforms have become absolutely necessary. No nation can ever develop without a strong judicial system. If we don’t reform now then a much bleaker future is in store for us. And even though the situation might seem impossible now but still there are some ways that might help us in easing off the pressure. Let us take a look at them.
- Appointment of more judges
This statement has already been repeated many times. We can’t escape it; it is a necessity. We need more judges. It is the first and the foremost requirement.
- Classification of Cases
There are some cases that need urgent attention as they are of a very severe nature. Such cases should be classified in a separate category and fast track courts should formed to solve them. Many such fast track courts have already been formed, but to solve the present problem, we need many more.
All the details related to a case are written on paper and stored in files. With such large number of cases, handling these files becomes increasingly difficult. These paper files are also liable to error. So, digitizing them will certainly be of great help. It’s impossible to digitize all the cases of the past, but at least we can digitize the future ones.
- Penalty to the lawyer
If it is clear that the lawyer is delaying the case using petty stratagems then he should be penalised. A large amount of capital is spent on all the court proceedings and no one should be allowed to waste it.