- Chief Justice Ramana has said that in modern-day and age people do not want to wait for a long time to avail justice
- He seemed to be critical of this approach as he said that it affects the quality of Justice in country
- Government is doing its bit, the public has been patient, now the Judiciary should not dissuade people from seeking justice
Chief Justice of India (CJI) is the topmost and hence the most respected institution in the judicial fraternity of the country. That is why whatever CJI says in his speeches tends to start a discussion in society. Recently, CJI Ramana‘s remarks on similarity between people’s expectation of justice delivery and noodles also set the nation up for debate.
CJI Raman in Chennai
During his speech at the foundation stone laying ceremony at Madras High Court, Chennai, CJI gave his elaborate analysis of problems miring the justice delivery system of India.
Hon’ble CJI acknowledged that maintaining people’s faith in Judiciary is the biggest challenge of the day. Apprising the country about his work towards maintaining Constitutional values, CJI said, “During the last one year of my tenure as the Chief Justice of India, I have been highlighting various issues affecting our legal system. The biggest issue affecting all institutions nowadays, including the judiciary, is ensuring sustained faith in the eyes of the public. The judiciary is wrested with immense constitutional responsibility of maintaining the rule of law and checking legislative and executive excesses.”
People need faster justice
In a well-crafted suggestion to his fellow judges, CJI said that judges should keep them updated with the developments in the society. He said that people do not have time for patience as their attention span has shortened. To substantiate his point, he cited various examples of rapid changes in daily lives.
“Judges should be aware of social realities. We have to carefully watch the changing social needs and expectations. The world is moving very fast. We are witnessing this change in every sphere of life. From the 5-day test match, we have moved on to the 20-20 format. We prefer short-duration entertainment over a 3-hour long movie. From filter coffee, we have moved on to instant coffee” said CJI Ramana.
Hon’ble CJI is critical of people’s expectation of faster delivery of justice. According to him, accelerating the pace of justice will result in a decrement in the quality of justice. “In this era of instant noodles, people expect instant justice. But they do not realize that real justice will be a casualty if we strive for instant justice,” said CJI Ramana
Pendency in Indian Courts
The Chief Justice’s comments about instant noodles are true and grounded in reality. People do require instant justice and this propensity indeed has the capability to change the functioning of our judicial system into something akin to Kangaroo Courts. But, there is another side to the story. Our judicial system is probably one of the worst in the world when it comes to solving problems.
In December, 2021, Kiren Rijiju, India’s Law Minister told Lok Sabha that a total of 4.70 crore cases were found to be pending in India. It is widely believed that High Courts and Supreme Court work more efficiently and they are less likely to have pendency of cases running for years. But, statistics tell a totally different story.
By March, 2021. Nearly 60 lakh cases were pending in High Courts, second highest Courts of the land. According to a Moneycontrol report, a whopping 73,000 cases were found to be pending in the Supreme Court alone.
Government is doing its part
There are multitudes of reasons behind this huge number of pendencies. Old and irrelevant laws, slow bureaucracy, inefficient Police are some of the reasons which fall mostly outside judiciary’s purview. There is very little the judiciary can do to strike down irrelevant laws. In fact, the Modi government has taken it on itself to repeal those laws. As reported by the TFI, the Modi government has struck down nearly 2,000 such laws which were increasing the burden of the judiciary.
To improve slow bureaucracy, the Modi government has focused on modernising the work culture. Moreover, the standards of examination pattern of government services have gone up by several notches. This is done to ensure that only the best and most efficient ones get into the government services. The government is also working towards bringing in much needed revolutionary police reforms.
Judiciary needs to step up
Now, the onus is on the Judiciary. The Legislature is slowly but steadily doing away with painful practice of going slow. But, the Judiciary has not been at its top game. In spite of having so many pending cases, Judges’ seats are often reported to be vacant. Even High Courts are not able to fulfil their judges’ seats as most of the High Courts are reported to have vacancies running in high percentages. In August, 2021, 50 percent of seats in Delhi High Court were vacant.
Yes, there is a crisis in the Judiciary. Yes, the institution is losing credibility day by day. Yes, the public needs instant justice. But, it’s the judiciary’s job to ensure a faster and more efficient mechanism for stakeholders. Government is doing its bit, public has been patient keeping in mind the dignity of the judiciary, now it’s Judiciary’s turn to step up to the plate.