Justice is to be found somewhere between the black and therefore the white, the two colours are the pillars guarding the Thought of justice. Black symbolizes crepuscule whereas, the white provides a way of dawn and conjointly they represent the clarity obtained by observing the idea of justice in totality. Plato’s idea of justice was incredibly broad in nature according to him justice is not a non- public idea however a plan encompassing the entire society, he says that it’s not mere strength of one person but the harmonious strength among the members of the society. Analyzing the various theories of justice, a judicial system was set up in the country carrying the objective of ensuring justice to every person in the society. The Indian judicial system is not a recent system, but traces its origin long before even India was an independent country, as soon as we regained our independence, we fashioned our judicial system, not very different from what we had in British India, immensely influenced by it. Since then, it has been 72 years we have reached new heights in almost every sector and India is no more a third world nation but the Indian judicial system, the heavily frame worked system in the world suffers a haunting Backlog of cases creating a menace against the rights of people in an exceedingly society that perceives the idea of justice. In a step to a recent stat, it is said that if all the judges are commissioned into working day and night and closing an approx. 100 cases per day, it would take a whopping span of 35 years to clear all the backlogs, and that is excluding the present-day cases which will be becoming the new backlogs after 35 years. So how did we end up here, a glaring question, a question that needs an answer, and a solution even as we speak
Statistics Summing up the overview of pendency in the Courts:
Issue of deferrals and pendency has been a bone conflict from last 5 decades and has now from a significant period of time failing the idea of justice with not serving the end of law which is justice within an effective timeline. Supreme Court Judge justice. Madan B. Lokur on one instance commented that if the current speed we proceed with evaluating the pending cases it will take approx. 300 years to clear the excess and that as well if no new cases are registered amid that time.
The latest data from the site of Supreme Court and National judicial Data Grid it is evident enough that much has to be achieved in the task of releasing the burden of backlogs on the shoulders of judiciary, and the data shows that not much has changed in last few years. Although it’s not true that efforts have not been made but the immense pressure of the backlogs have been haunting the administerial Potency of the courts.
The latest data provided by the Supreme court to the Ministry of law and justice grid indicates that the total no. of cases pending in the apex court by March 2020 was 60,469 Among them 19, 292 cases are those which are pending from last 3 to 5 years which forms almost 29% of the total case pending before the apex court1. Those waiting for Justice for more than 10 years are 1550 in numbers, the 2020 record of NJDG says that as on May 29, 2020 a total of 48.26 lakh cases which narrows down to 1.93 lakh cases per court among the 25 high courts across the country2.
The official records of the pendency of the cases in different High courts have been compiled and represented with help of a pic chart.3
Nature wise Pendency of the cases in the High Courts.
Total no. of cases pending in the High court – 4826405
Total civil matters pending- 2039859
Total criminal matters pending- 1357609
Writs pending- 1428937
All of this data has been sourced from the official portal of National Judicial Data Grid and are evident enough to determine that if the backlogs are not imp actively tackled with immediate effect it would eat up the entire judicial system leaving nothing but a body unfit to stage justice, as it itself would have no idea of the of what justice means.
India in its history of 72 years has seen many legal developments and as a nation has been a great proponent of Evolution of the Legal System as per the need of the society. Although the huge pendency cannot be overlooked that embraces threat to the system. Since last decade judiciary has taken this issue into account and has been acting effectively towards the redressal of this issue, the plausible solutions to the pending cases is a series of improvisation that we need to induct in the system. Following are some sound suggestions and potential solutions to address the huge pendency in the judiciary;
Removing of redundant laws:
Obsolete and redundant laws have jeopardized the idea of speedy justice. The outdated laws have made it almost impossible for individuals to get easy and early access to justice. The government has just accentuated the venture of E- courts and have developed 2600 new court corridors. The pendency in the courts shall be more looked through the perspective of unfinished business and shall be given due attention.
Alternate Dispute Resolution:
Court and council system of securing justice is the traditional one and has an antagonistic approach where one of the parties loses whereas Alternate Dispute Resolution aims to establish both the parties in a win-win situation. Persuasions and compromise are the gists of the concept, it has various methods such as arbitration, conciliation, mediation all aiming to secure justice without the formal court affairs.
Foundation of Fast-Track Courts:
Fast track courts of it are not true that efforts have not been made but the immense pressure of the backlogs have been haunting the administerial efficiency of the courts.
The latest data provided by the Supreme court to the Ministry of law and justice grid indicates that the total no. of cases pending in the apex court by March 2020 was 60,469 Among them 19, 292 cases are those which are pending from last 3 to 5 years which forms almost 29% of the total case pending before the apex court4. Those waiting for Justice for more than 10 years are 1550 in numbers, the 2020 record of NJDG says that as on May 29, 2020, a total of 48.26 lakh cases which narrows down to 1.93 lakh cases per court among the 25 high courts across the country5.
Establishment of Lok Adalat:
The concept of Lok Adalat is in complete consonance with the principles of article 39A and Legal Services Authorities act of 1987 of the constitution guarantying the Right to legal aid to the weaker sections of society be it socially or financially. The idea is to avoid any kind of obstruction in the path of justice only because of the unequal division of wealth among society. Lokadalats is being held at every place end people’s issue is redressed at a lesser expense.
The emergence of Gram Nyalaya:
It is a progressive sense pf approach inducting the concept of gram nyayalayas at the very core of the justice deprived layer. Such portable courts shall serve justice on the principles of equity and common law, which will be easily accessible to the concerned public and well addressed as the justice will be served door to door basis.
Adherence to proper judicial education:
Law commissions report 77th report had a special focused on training and effectiveness of the judges to handle the cases. Also, the judges should abstain themselves from any kind biasness and shall practice the principle of natural justice and Audi alteram partem.
Encouragement to Plea Bargaining:
Plea bargaining is an American concept that was introduced to encourage confessions, many believe that it compromises the purpose of law but it can also be not neglected that in non-grave offences plea bargaining has proved itself effective. Chapter XXI of Criminal Procedure Court defines plea bargaining where the accused pleads guilty in return of lesser charges and the case is compounded between the party abstaining themselves from the court’s complex procedure.
Strengthening the legal aid system:
Legal aid is one of the most important principles of fair trial. Most of the trials are either vitiated by the unavailability of sufficient funds or ample knowledge of the procedure as the current judicial system can be costly. The inception of legal aid into the current system ids predeceased by the ideals of equal right of fair trial for every person in the society.
Article 22(1) and Article 39A of the constitution guarantees these rights and provides for the neutral trial. Section 303 and section 304 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 also uphold that all possible counsel shall be given to the accused of his proper representation and fair trial. These principles and the laws shall be observed in its entirety and given much more force to ensure the proper redressal of the cases.
The developments of these fundamentals on speedy trial of cases went through different waves of judicial approach the most landmark judgement is that of, Hussainara khatoon vs Home secretary, state of Bihar6, a lot of appeals under the writ of habeas corpus was institutes against the detention of detainees that were detained for considerable length of time awaiting their trial. The apex court ordered that the right to quick trial was an embodiment of article 22 and that all the detainee shall be released on their bond.
State of Maharashtra vs Champa lal7, the court held that privilege to a speedy trial is crucial right and should be ensured to every citizen. The courts are the Guardian of the rights of the people and right now they need of the hour is to abide by the rights and the speedy dispensation of justice needs to be done.
Throughout the last five decades, the pendency in the court of law has been ruling out the legitimate claims and rights owing to its complex and expensive procedures. Those rights are far gone that we no longer believe that it ever existed. This realization of extinction of legitimate claims has led the judiciary and the stakeholders to frame solutions on the increasing pendency at every level of the system. The repercussions have led concerned authorities to mindfulness to evaluate unwelcomed increment of pending cases. It is the need of every second that judiciary functions to tackle effectively this and to progressively work towards the overall enhancement of India Judiciary.
2National Judicial Data Grid (https://njdg.ecourts.gov.in/hcnjdg_public/main.php
5National Judicial Data Grid (https://njdg.ecourts.gov.in/hcnjdg_public/main.php
6 1979 AIR 1369