Report No. 222
1.60 Lawyers, as the general public expects, should be thorough professionals, persons of integrity and competence, who can uphold the cause of justice. Lawyers must be men or women of substance having full sense of their social responsibilities as social technicians and architects of the justicing process. They must have a grasp of the endless tradition and must be aware of the greatness of their task. They must have necessary humility, being servants of justice and the conscience of the community.
1.61 The vulnerable sections of the society who are marginalized have to be dealt with sensitively and with care. Being powerless, poor and ignorant, they need assistance for empowerment with knowledge and capacity to uphold their own rights as being integral part of the society. Legal literacy campaign, paralegal training programmes, mobilization of public opinion against injustice and exploitation, out-of-court settlement of disputes, legal advice, etc. are some of the ways through which the poor and the underprivileged can be made to realize their rights and also learn about their own importance in shaping and rejuvenating this great nation.
1.62 Since the lower judiciary does the bulk of judicial work, it needs to be strengthened. Not only the infrastructure of the lower courts needs to be improved, but also the service conditions of the judicial officers need to be revamped. More courts needs to be created, so that justice is taken to the doorsteps of the people. The recent creation by the Union Government of Fast Track Court at the district level, to dispose of old cases, is a step in the right direction.
1.63 In our country, the ratio between the population and the judges is unrealistic. Therefore, the Judiciary is unable to cope up with the flood of litigation. Hence, the number of judges needs to be increased in proportion to the population. India has fewer than 15 judges per million people, a figure that compares very poorly with countries, such as Canada (about 75 per million) and the US (104 per million). In 2002, the Supreme Court had directed the Union Government that the judge-population ratio be raised to 50 per million in a phased manner.1
1. The Hindu, 6-9-2007.
1.64 Our antediluvian laws either need to be deleted or rejuvenated. The procedure laws should be pruned and streamlined. The right to appeal on both the civil and the criminal sides needs to be restricted.
1.65 The work culture of the courts should be improved. The relationship between the Bar and the Bench should be cordial. Strikes and adjournments only delay disposal of cases.
1.66 The quality of legislation needs to be improved. Poorly drafted laws encourage litigation. If the law is clear, chances of litigation are less.
1.67 With a view to avoid inordinate delay in furnishing certified copies of judgments and final orders, etc., copies should be taken and authenticated immediately after their pronouncement and preserved in the copying section, for the purposes of issuing certified copies, whenever necessary. Sufficient number of Xerox machines for that purpose be made available.
1.68 Judicial reform is the concern not only of the Judiciary, but it is the responsibility of the Executive, of the Legislature, of the Bar and of the people also. It is not a one-time remedy, but an on-going process. They must stop blaming each other, for the malice. They must unite, to prevent and control the litigation-epidemic.
1.69 With the advent of the ADR, there is a new avenue for the people to settle their disputes. More and more ADR centres should be created for settling disputes out-of-court as is being done in many other countries. ADR methods will really achieve the goal of rendering social justice to the people, which really is the goal of the successful judicial system.
1.70 Technology has a role to play in diminishing dockets. Computers should be introduced in courts with a faster speed. This facilitates dissemination of information, creation of data, upkeep of the judicial records and betters judicial delivery system. The National E-Courts Project launched by the President on 09.07.2007 needs fillip.