LPPYF Law and Public Policy Youth Fellowship is an Online National Summer School Program, a Two-Month Online Immersive Legal Awareness & Action Research Certificate Training Course and Internship Program, from June-August 2023 by IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute. An informative and interactive panel discussion on “Time bound Justice is Easily Possible in India” was held by Shri Shailesh Gandhi, a RTI activist and former Central Information Commissioner.
Inaugurating the session Nikita, a researcher at IMPRI, welcomed the speakers and participants to the program with an introduction to the eminent panelists.
Introduction to Time Bound Justice
The speaker started the session by narrating a real life incident of a man called Tukkaram, who originally belonged to a poverty stricken district of Vidarbha in Maharashtra. He was so poor that he wasn’t able to feel his wife and child. He came to Mumbai to try his luck, but unfortunately, he was arrested by the police for sleeping on a footpath. He had a case against him and he was released after 3 years.
When he went back to his village, he found out that his wife married a 60 year old widower and his son died. Grief striken Tukaram felt he had lost everything so he committed suicide. According to the speaker, this was a one in a million case, it wasn’t a suicide either, the speaker emphasised that this was a case of abetment to suicide by the delayed justice.
In Comparison To The World
The speaker firmly mentions that the world practices a timely justice system, so what stops India to do the same? India has over 5 crore pending cases in its courts, the speaker says that as we are targeting a 5 trillion economy, we might be setting an unbeatable world record.
According to the speaker, delayed justice = injustice, as timely justice is not given, a system of injustice in place. In many countries over 70% of cases are disposed of in less than four months and less than 1% take over three years. In India presently about 30% are disposed of in one year over 40% take over 3 years. India is at 79th position in the Rule Law Index. Average months to solve legal problems in India take 35 months. There are alot of overcrowded prisons, but the speaker mentions not focusing on building more prisons but making more courts.
What Happens When A Case Is Delayed for a Long Time
In Criminal Cases as the time increases the investigating machinery tends to lose interest, witnesses lose memory and it results in contradictions, effective conviction in a genuine/ truthful case becomes a dream, in Civil Matters, delay in grant of relief has effect of frustration of relief prayed by the petitioner.
Solutions suggested by the speaker are major judicial reforms, judges must perform better, no adjournments, he asked for the laws to change, double or treble the number of judges, accept that the problem cannot be solved and will keep growing bigger. NITI Aayog 324 years to clear backlog, the speaker questions how it has been calculated. Citizen action rule of law can prevail and right to speedy justice can be ensured, the objective should be that over 90% of the cases must be decided within a year, fill up judiciary vacancies, acknowledge the shortfall of the system.
E-filing of petitions, affidavits, payment of fees – SOPs have been prepared and all equipment is available in almost all courts, without timely disposal, all judicial and quasi-judicial processes will become meaningless.
According to the speaker, the Chief Justice of India must show the roadmap and define what is required and in how much time timelessness will be achieved. The speaker boldly ends the session by making a remark that “Mera Bharat Mahan Nahi Hai, Aur Yeah Dosh Mera Hai” indicating that its the duty of the citizens as well to intervene and get justice served in a timely way.
Abhivyakti is a Research Intern at IMPRI.
Youtube Video of Inaugural session for Law and Public Policy Youth Fellowship Programme: https://youtu.be/fT0XLKGJ6LY
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