Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Indian Justice System is Holidaying

“Justice Hurried is Justice Buried”
“Justice Delayed is Justice Denied”

Indian courts are notorious for it’s sluggish pace. Cases dates back to previous century still await verdicts. But some cases are heard in a fast-track court and verdicts delivered within a matter of weeks. Why can’t all the courts be Fast-track then? Or precisely, why SOME cases are heard in a special manner while others are destined to languish in the fray for their lifetime and beyond?
Some statistics suggest over 1,50,000 Cases are pending in the Supreme Court alone.
High courts have a back log of about 1.5 Million cases! Don’t think about the lower courts.
. Even if the courts work 24/7 for the next century, it may not be possible to clear this backlog.
One reason given for this backlog is the Indian’s highly litigating nature. Some say it judicial over-activism, but it is the people who are running to the court for each and every silly things as if there is no other way out of it. And appeals made to a higher courts make things worse.
But, strangely, courts with such mountainous backlog, still enjoys a lot of holidays. Summer vacation is for 7 weeks and plus all the other holidays in a year . Here is a the total leaves per month for Supreme court of India.
Jan 2006: 5 Sundays, 2 holidays.
Feb 06: 4 Sundays, 1 Holiday
Mar 06: 4 Sundays, 6 Holidays (6 days for HOLI!!!!)
Apr 06: 5 Sundays, 3 Holidays
May 06: 2 Sundays, 1 Holiday, 17 Days Summer Vacation!!!
Jun 06: Entire Month (30 days) summer vacation!!!
July 06: 4 Sundays, 2 days summer vacation
Aug 06: 4 Sundays, 3 days holiday
Sep 06: 4 Sundays, Thank god!! No holidays
Oct 06: 5 Sundays, 14 Days holiday!!
Nov 06: 4 Sundays, Thank God! No holiday.
Dec 06: 5 Sundays, 12 Holidays (Christmas & New Year!!!)
A total of 137 days off!!! 38% of the year! In fact the courts work for only a mere 62% days! No wonder our courts are chest-deep in pending cases. Soon it will be eye-deep and will die a suffocating death. There is no meaning for a system to exist where it can’t serve its purpose.
Recently there was a trend where a lower court’s decision is upturned by the higher court. This will further erode the credibility of lower courts. Does this reversal means the lower court judges are not capable of deciphering the complex laws properly and deliver a just verdict? Does that mean they are corrupted? Reading together with reports of corruption in lower court judges, the picture gets clearer. So where is hope? Not all of us can afford to go to Supreme Court for justice. If lower courts fail to convince the people about its credibility, there will be little respite for the poor man.


Anonymous said...

After living in US for the last five years I can assure you Indian arent over litigating compared to people in US. Still court system in US is much more efficient. I do agree with you about the number of holidays enjoyed by the Indian Judiciary may be its time to cut down on some of those holidays. Also I think we need more courts and judges to take care of the overload in the courts.

Shinu Mathew said...

What happened to your blog comments? The blogroll and comments are made a vanishing act :). Please put those back so that we can comment on your articles.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused when I check my blog I can see the comments and blogroll. I havent made any changes to my template lately so not sure what could be wrong. Check once again and let me know.

Brijesh said...

The judiciary in India sucks big time. I knew they have lot of holidays but I am really shocked to see these numbers.If some how u land up in a case in India in some lower court, by the time u finally get a verdict from supreme court u might have died