In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Truth never damages a cause that is Just”. Efficiency and Optimization seem to go hand in hand and they really do. Efficiency is the delivery force which alleviates the operational costs and optimization is the engine to procure that goal. The idea of Justice comes from the ancient concept of Dharma. It is perhaps, the broader idea of Justice. But what does Constitutional Justice mean? The very first mention of the word “Justice”, finds its place in the preamble of our constitution. It says, “We the people of India have solemnly resolved to constitute India into sovereign socialist’s secular democratic republic and to secure to all its citizens: Justice, social, economic and political”. Then comes the question, what does social, economic, and political mean?
- Social Justice means, everyone should be treated equally, irrespective of their caste, creed, religion, or sex.
- Economic Justice means, no one shall be discriminated against on the basis of economic footing.
- Political Justice means, all the citizens of this nation, have equal political rights in terms of participation in the process of governance of the society.
Constitution guarantees rights, acknowledges past inequalities, accommodates diversity, prescribes functions, and grants and limits state’s (Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary) powers. So, one way would be, to merely view the Constitution as a list of what can and cannot be done by instrumentalities created under the Constitution.
Another way would be, to perceive it as the voice of the people, a list of their expectations -an aspirational view, which includes higher values, like dignity, liberty, rule of law, etc., reflected especially in the salient features of the Constitution. To accomplish the above-mentioned aspirations, what we need and what we often like to discuss is, “The Independence of Judiciary”. Indeed, this is much needed but, is that enough? Is that all we need to reach the pinnacle of Justice?
What we need today, along with an independent judiciary, is an efficient judiciary. The role of the Judicial System in our nation should be more decisive so as to loom up the functioning of the Justice Delivery System in a more persuasive way. We must acknowledge, that laws need the will and not merely the wheel.
Importance of an Independent Judiciary
As Thomas Sowell, a famous Jurist once said -” Independence of Judiciary doesn’t mean that Judges are independent of the laws they are sworn to protect” and to protect the laws we’re sworn to protect, we need an efficient judiciary. The foundation of the very existence of our Institution (Judiciary) is the belief in the Rule of Law.
In India, the historical foundations of rule of law far precede Greek or Roman prescriptions. In ancient India, the Brihadaranyak-Upanishad quotes, “Law is the king of kings, far more powerful than they appear to be. Nothing can be mightier than the law by whose aid as that of the highest monarch, the weak may prevail over the strong”. Justice without adequate, affordable, and effective access is merely an eyewash to Judicial System.
Constitutional Justice is achieved when the two views namely, functional and aspirational are harmonized, and the quality access is secured. The grand vision of Justice, without adequate means of securing it and efficient means of delivering it, would benefit none and would perturb to one and all.
Challenges faced by the Judicial System
The Challenges and the Opportunities for the Juridical System have never been cloaked by anyone and yet the efficacy has always been lacking. This is high time to understand the importance of an Independent Judiciary and an effective Justice Delivery System. There are some of the challenges that are faced by our Judiciary on a day to day note and all this needs to be eradicated from its gross roots as soon as possible in order to make our system work more efficiently and proactively.
The challenges faced by our Justice Delivery System are as follows-
- Corruption– like the other pillars of democracy, the Executive and the Legislative, the Independent Judiciary has also been found to engage in the dirty mud of Corruption. However, no authentic information has been brought in the limelight by the media, the fourth pillar of the democracy, in order to maintain the trust of the people in our justice delivery system.
- Lack of Transparency– there has been lack of transparency in the appointment of judges as well and from the very beginning be it the Collegium or the NJAC, none of them have been able to make this process a transparent one, so as to make the ease for the common people to understand the machinery.
- Accused under Trial– another major drawback that our Judicial System is facing is that, a lot of accused are undertrial. There is no speedy justice being provided to them. For the Culprits, it may act as a boon as they get to have more time in their life but for the innocent who has been falsely alleged, nothing could get worse for him.
The need for improvisations
Now, before we start talking about all this reformation or the opportunities that could be or could have been grasped by the Indian Judicial System, let us take a moment to know and understand the actual need for these improvisations.
The government wants to improve the ease of living for the common man. What the government can do best is, improve the Criminal Justice System to work faster and foster the working of these Justice System so as to please each and every common man, and give them the assurance that strict actions would be brought against those would be violent rather than cooperate in maintaining the peace & harmony of this nation.
Key steps to Constructive Reform
According to the recent facts, India has the world’s largest undertrial prisoners. That accounts to nearly 4.2 lakh and certainly, this is not praiseworthy. Hence, there are few steps that could be used as a suggestion for the Judicial System to work with efficacy. Some of them are as follows, –
- Better investigation process should be laid down in order to have a speedy Justice Delivery System.
- Faster Trial Court should be made in work for investigating more and more cases. Thereby, disposing of the burdens from the Normal Courts.
- Constructive Approaches must be made to speed up the disposal of pending cases with shorter adjournments.
- Lawyers are the persons who willing to file up multiple cases adjacent to a single suit.
- Digital Technologies have reached and has started working in almost every single sector; hence, it should be inculcated within the courts as well and should replace the manual labour.
- More of the sitting Judges must be recruited in order to have a speedy delivery of these long-pending cases.
- All the courts should be made a fast track court. A minimum of five years of time period should be set up for the disposal of any of the respective cases.
- The working days of the Judges, as well as the other court official, should be increased on an average.
In other words, if we incarnate these few procedures in the working of our Judicial System, then, we might be admiring our judicial system as one of the best amongst the world.
There’s no single doubt, on the credibility of our judicial system. It is one of the oldest judicial systems around the world, having the laws for almost every single criminal incident. But, if you look back to the ground reality, then one would come across a daunting harsh reality. Since the establishment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the year 1950, only 25,000 cases have been disposed of. That’s a troublesome fact to analyze.
The issues like that of corruption, pending cases for trial, and the undertrial prisoners just cannot be overlooked. In order to understand the reality of our Judicial System, one can refer to the case of one of the leading Scientists of India. They built a cryogenic rocket engine at the Indian Space Research Organisation, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. Later, they were falsely accused in the year 1994 for leaking some of the technical details along with fifty others. They were even tortured in jail.
However, later on in the year 19998, the CBI gave him a clean chit and ordered for his acquittal. But, his career was in sheer destruction and his life was shambled. The National Human Rights Commission ordered the Kerala Government to give him a compensatory amount of Rs One Crore. That still did not happen and this process still has a long way to go before the man procures Justice.