I love my India and want it to be the best in the world. It has the talent and capability. The state has constantly deteriorated in last six decades. The downfall is due to low quality, incompetent and corrupt leadership, unaccountable, equally corrupt bureaucracy and ineffective judiciary unable to fulfil people's aspirations resulting in unparalleled corruption and lawlessness. Drastic changes are necessary to make systems vibrant and responsive to make it an India of every Indian's dreams.
Is the Judicial System Kept Inefficient Purposely ?
The large number of vacancies of judges in courts not being filled and court infrastructure in decay all over, and all this when the delayed criminal justice system has been flayed in the country for several years, beg the question, " Is this being done on purpose by the executive ?" It would appear so as per the observations of the Supreme Court recently. Tavleen Singh's piece in today's Indian Express is revealing indeed !
Cmde Ashok Sawhney .
Justice in Decay
. by Tavleen Singh Posted online Indian Express, February 20, 2011
The Supreme Court made some fascinating comments recently on the flaws in our justice system that were ignored by everyone. When our highest court pointed out that no government wants a strong judiciary and that this is the reason why less than 1 per cent of our annual Budget is spent on court infrastructure, I imagined that at least our scam-obsessed TV channels would join the dots and discover that politicians get away with looting public money because the justice system does not work as it should. .
This did not happen, so I consider it my duty to point out this week that what the Supreme Court said was more important than A Raja cooling his heels in Tihar Jail and more important than last week’s raids on Kalaignar TV. While the CBI is in its current state of hyper activity, can it please investigate how so many of our major political leaders acquire the hundreds of crores needed to run television channels? But, I digress and do not want to. .
The Supreme Court, while commenting on Amar Singh’s phone tapping case, said other things of great importance. Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly said, ‘This case should have been over in three months. Adjournments have become a cancer to the institutions.’ They said, ‘The system has already become sick. What can be the expectation of the common man for speedy justice? Even in the Supreme Court, a special leave petition takes eight years to reach final hearing.’ They said, ‘We all give sermons. We go to the National Judicial Academy and give lectures to judicial officers asking them to speed up disposal of cases. But where is the infrastructure?’ .
The short answer is that it does not exist. Last week, it was reported in the Times of India that ten high courts in the country are desperately short of judges and that these ten account for 68 per cent of our backlog of 41.8 lakh cases that remain suspended at the high court level. .
What is the point in sending Raja to jail? What is the point in catching Suresh Kalmadi’s gang of thieves? What is the point in trying to get justice at all in a country where your case may not come to court in your life time? Victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy wait for justice nearly thirty years after the worst industrial accident in human history. Victims of the Uphaar cinema fire have waited for justice for nearly twenty years. And, these are huge public tragedies. The Supreme Court is right to point out that there is no hope of justice for the common man. I have two small personal matters that have not come to court in twenty years. In one, my car was hit by a Delhi Transport corporation bus from behind. The case has not yet come to court. And, in the second, case officials of the Delhi government burst into my office and started breaking things up before realising that I was not in illegal occupation. The case has never come to court and never will. .
It is an old Indian tradition for officials to get away with anything unless it is they who make a case against a private citizen. This they do needlessly and often so more than sixty per cent of the civil cases that clog our courts have the government as the litigant. From personal experience, I can guarantee that in more than ninety per cent of these cases, the reasons for wasting taxpayers money on litigation are flimsy. .
To return, though, to the observations made by the Supreme Court it needs to be emphasised that there is no hope of speeding up the process of justice in India unless we appoint more judges and spend money on ‘court infrastructure’. Indian courts are in a disgraceful state. Fine buildings have been reduced to a state of terminal decay because there is often not even enough money to keep them clean. The Esplanade court in Mumbai is an example. It is a magnificent building from the days of the Raj and should be preserved as a national treasure but its corridors are covered in filth and it is not unusual to run into stray dogs and cats in the court rooms. In Ujjain, I once encountered a cow in the court room. .
It is hard to talk of the ‘majesty’ of justice in such surroundings and harder still to speak flippantly of the law ‘taking its course’ as our politicians like to say. The only reason they say it is because they know better than anyone else that in India the course is long and filled with obstacles. They know better than anyone that justice may never be done unless you happen to have the power, influence and high connections to ensure that the course is made easier.