Fixing judicial delays

Fixing judicial delays: Attention to problems of India's judiciary overdue...

Judiciary revamp

The BS editorial "Fixing judicial delays" (April 26) goes beyond fault-finding
and finding scapegoats for the sorry state of affairs of the Indian judiciary, symbolically demonstrated by the tears that fell on the dais where Prime
Minister Modi was present. For a moment even the
Prime Minister must have been shocked which made him search for words and make a guarded official statement that ‘if constitutional barriers do not create any problems, then top ministers and senior Supreme Court judges can sit together to find a solution to the issue’. Knowing the ‘Modi’ way of looking at issues, one would have expected a promise to ensure quick action to fill up existing vacancies in the judiciary at all levels and an assurance to resolve other issues flagged by CJI in a time-bound manner.
30 million court cases pending in various courts in the country, there is urgency to fast-track justice. The wake-up call from CJI on April 24 is more than a warning and nation can ill-afford to ignore the message demanding prompt remedial action. The immediate measures could include:

Segregating cases which need to be decided within a year and taking them on a priority basis by the courts now in position.
Leaving the remaining cases to new Special Courts to be put in place at all levels depending on the number of pending cases.
Ensuring vacancies of judges at all levels are filled quickly.
Making it compulsory for government and public sector organizations to expedite procedures where they are on either side of the matters before courts. This is necessary as there is laxity on their side as cost and delay seldom affects the individuals who handle cases in government and public sector. This position is slowly creeping into big corporates also, where individuals do not feel the burden of cash outflow for fighting court cases.
Making necessary legislative changes to reduce procedural delays.
Simultaneous efforts to encourage concerned parties to settle issues out of court. This method would bear fruit where party on one side of the dispute is government or quasi-government organizations.
Advocates can play a proactive role by sharing the responsibility for procedural delays by charging less for appearing for cases depending on the category of clients and their capacity to pay.
M G Warrier, Mumbai


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