Report No. 230
1.14 Of late, there has been a general erosion of work culture throughout the country. Government servants avoid discharging their duties and responsibilities. The Judiciary has also been affected by this evil.
1.15 It is high time when all the judges at different levels of judicial hierarchy must devote full time to judicial work and should not be under any misconception that they are Lords or above the society. Though this feeling should come from within, but some guidelines are necessary. 13Once judgments are reserved on constitutional matters by larger bench or otherwise, the judgments should be delivered within a reasonable time. There is long and inordinate delay in delivering judgments which should be avoided in public interest. If these suggestions are implemented, the functioning of the courts shall certainly improve. Speedy justice
1.16 Speedy justice is the right of every litigating person. There is no denying the fact that delay frustrates justice. In the present set-up it often takes 10 - 20 - 30 or even more years before a matter is finally decided. In the recent past, litigation has increased immensely. The population growth, improved financial conditions, lack of tolerance and materialistic way of life may be some of the causes.
But the delay in dispensation of justice has to be eliminated by taking effective steps otherwise the day is not far when the whole system will collapse. Recently, one Hon'ble Judge of Delhi High Court calculated that 464 years will be required to clear the arrears with the present strength of the judges in that High Court. The position may not be that gloomy but is still alarming.
1.17 In Allahabad High Court, more than eight and a half lacs of cases are pending. Criminal appeals of the year 1980-82, criminal revisions of the year 1990-95 are still pending. In second civil appeals and writ matters the position is almost same. The position is the same in all other High Courts. Institution of cases is much more than disposal and it adds to the arrears almost at all levels of judicial hierarchy. Even in subordinate courts, there is huge pendency of cases.
1.18 As stated above, in order to meet this contingency substantial increase in the number of judges and corresponding infrastructure is required at the earliest. Even if the judges and class III and IV employees are appointed, say, within three to six months basic infrastructure will need time. However, the money should be not a problem. It should be treated as a developmental work, a work to provide justice to all, a principle enshrined in the Preamble of our Constitution.
1.19 An effort has been made in Gujarat State and Delhi to have some evening courts. The same system can be introduced in other States as well.
1.20 The constitutional promise of securing to all its citizens justice, social, economic and political, as promised in the Preamble of the Constitution cannot be realized unless the three organs of the State i.e. legislature, executive and judiciary join together to find ways and means for providing to the Indian poor equal access to its justice system.
1.21 Speedy trial is guaranteed under article 21 of the Constitution of India. Any delay in expeditious disposal of criminal trial infringes the right to life and personal liberty guaranteed under article 21 of the Constitution. The debate on judicial arrears has thrown up number of ideas on how the judiciary can set its own house in order. Alarmed by the backlog of inordinate delay in disposal of cases, Fast Track Courts or Special Courts have to be constituted.
Thus, Fast Track Courts are to tackle the section 138 Negotiable Instruments Act cases as the graph of 15such pendency is very high and alarming. It is high time to restore the confidence of people in the judiciary by providing speedy justice.
1.22 It is not uncommon for any criminal case to drag on for years. During this time, the accused travels from the zone of "anguish" to the zone of "sympathy". The witnesses are either won over by muscle or money power or they become sympathetic to the accused. As a result, they turn hostile and prosecution fails. In some cases, the recollection becomes fade or the witnesses die. Thus, long delay in courts causes great hardship not only to the accused but even to the victim and the State.
The accused, who is not let out on bail, may sit in jail for number of months or even years awaiting conclusion of the trial. Thus, effort is required to be made to improve the management of prosecution in order to increase certainty of conviction and punishment for most serious offenders. It is experienced that there is increasing laxity in the court work by the police personnel, empowered to investigate the case.
1.23 Judiciary today is more deserving of public confidence than ever before. The judiciary has a special role to play in the task of achieving socio-economic goals enshrined in the Constitution while maintaining their aloofness and independence. Judges have to be aware of the social changes in the task of achieving socio-economic justice for the people.