Question of law

In a country, where its chief justice breaks down in public before the premier, one question surely arises: “Are we serious about judicial reforms?” The blame game won’t do. It is no longer a question of who is more responsible for the plight in which the Indian judicial system finds itself today — the government or the judiciary. Instead, the time is here when both need to sit down and look into the matter.
The problem is worrisome because of the enormous number of pending legal cases at 3.14 crore . Of them, 2.76 are in the lower courts, 38 lakh are pending in the high courts and around 60,000 cases in the apex court. And these are only the cases in formal courts. What if we include cases pending in tribunals like consumer courts, NGT, etc? The number could then rise to five crore or more. Though the tribunals were set up to lessen the burden of formal courts, unfortunately that didn’t happen. This is because the tribunals too have also been transformed into formal courts and in a country of a billion people, with the majority reeling under poverty, the entire issue of pending cases ultimately becomes one of “access to justice”.
If we compare the numbers, there are 13 judges per million Indians against Australia’s 41 judges, Canada’s 75, Britain’s 50 and 70 judges for the US.
Way back in 1987, the law commission had suggested the induction of 40,000 more judges and going by the current number of pending cases, the requirement must be over 50,000 now against a bench str­ength of only 21,000. Other issues that also need ref­orms are adjournments allowed by courts, multiple appeals and the enormous time taken to resolve disp­utes. If many cases are decided in 90 minutes in the US, why can’t we curtail the period of argument here?
The government also needs to keep in mind that legal disputes will keep rising with higher literacy and prosperity. Kerala, with a literacy rate of 90 per cent, has 28 cases filed per thousand citizens each year against only four cases filed in Jharkhand.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s