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Judicial Justice In India

01 June, 2005

By Amjed Jaaved


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Because of the inordinate delays, relief in Indian Judicial System is well-nigh impossible to get. There are over 33 lakh cases pending before the High Courts alone. Out of these, five lakh are over 10 years old. In the lower courts, over 45 lakh cases are pending.
 
 The Bangalore Law School analysed that it takes three months to three years to serve a summons or an emergency notice. Filing of written statements takes from six months to two years and interlocutory applications, from four months to four years.

 Most delays occur in issuing and serving summons. There was an instance when summons issued by the Mumbai High Court to the attorney general of India came back with the remark "addressee not found".
Added to this is the problem of innumerable holidays. The Supreme Court, for instance, works generally for 180 days, high courts for 210 days and the lower courts for 235 days. In contrast, US courts observe only four holidays in a year.

 Judicial relief will remain a far cry unless the ratio of judges to citizens from the current 1: 100,000 to 1:30,000.  Atrocities during Indira Gandhi-imposed emergency have been well documented by Indian historians.  But, what shocked the legal community and the laity alike was punishment of a police officer by a "fast-track court" in Junagadh after lapse of 27 years.  The court sentenced (September 30, 2003) the additional director general of police (training) Sabir S Khandwawala, along with two other police officers, to five years' rigorous imprisonment.

 The critics point out grotesque ironies in the Indian judicial system like: (a) After the Bhopal gas tragedy, the Government of India hired the American `India expert', Marc Galanter, to plead the case in New York.  While discussing locus standi of his plaint, he argued that India's legal system could not deliver justice to the victims. (b) In 2000-2001, a 'murder accused' (Nadeem) took refuge in London to escape trial in India.  He managed to convince the British court that a Muslim could not get justice in India. The court refused to extradite. (c) On September 13, 2003, two former chief justices (B.N. Kirpal and A.M. Ahmadi) sparred with each other in regard to a Japanese company's case.

 Kirpal argued that the case should be heard in New York and not New Delhi as hearing in India would take 20 years to fructify.   (d) Earlier in 2000-01, S.P. Bharucha, another former chief justice of India had remarked, "Twenty per cent of the Indian judiciary (that is 1 in every 5 judges) was corrupt". (e) Travesty of justice is obvious from the court's inability to punish the culprits in anti-Sikh riots (1984), the destruction of the Babri Masjid in 1992, and the Best-Bakery case.  In the last case, India's Supreme Court Chief Justice, V.N. Khare had condemned the Gujarat Government for its inaction asking it to quit if it could not govern fairly.

 The tragedy with Indian judicial system is that it is class-based, communal, anti-women, and anti-dalit (untouchable) Cases of oppressed dalits, minorities and tribals linger on undecided years after years.   While trying an upper-caste Hindu who had raped a dalit woman, the judge observed, "It is unthinkable for a brahmin to rape a dalit woman". Violence against women goes unpunished. The minorities are generally scared of filing complaints lest they should be brutalised.

 Measures taken (fast track courts, summary procedures, and draconian anti-terrorist legislation like POTA) have all foundered.  Human rights organisations had seriously criticised even the Malimath Committee's proposals for revamping the criminal justice system by investing the police with even greater powers.

In an investigative report, Tavleen Singh (Indian Express dated April 10, 2005, 'Frozen in a hundred years of solitude') observes, "I discovered that Judges are so bound down by the Executive they cannot buy a piece of paper, or a fountain pen, without seeking the government's permission. No exaggeration. I discovered that where we should have a hundred judges we make do with ten and that an American magistrate deals on average with a hundred cases while his Indian counterpart deals with 4,000... it would take 325 years to deal with the backlog in Indian courts... With all the glib talk we hear these days about India being on the verge of becoming an economic superpower we forget that this will remain a foolish dream as long as we have courts that look as if they remain frozen in a hundred years of solitude".

India has a Western system of justice and rule of law that it inherited from the British.  The truth, as Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, California Republican, pointed out, is that 'for Sikhs, Kashmiris and other minorities, India might as well be Nazi Germany'.

End.

Reader Comments:

agreed indian system has flawss in processing time however, if you look at system in pakistan it is even worse. System in pakistan is religiously biased and unfair to women, minorities and sects of islam other than sunni.

allen, San Marino - 01 June, 2005

Good Information

I appreciate your information; I appreciate your argument on the judicial system of India. It was good with the analysis part in the middle, but coming to the minorities point, with Muslims, with Sikhs, I agree that our judicial system might have some loop holes and its every where, but it never shrugged off its shoulders, please visit India, it is more visible to the eyes then on the papers or on the information that you collect. A wise man never see others house before looking his own house.
It is better to do research on your own system. The Sun never criticizes; only man criticizes. Take the position of The Sun, your home will be filled with light, take the position of a critique mind, the whole house will be filled with doubts and confusions.

Good Luck.


Subhash, Hungary - 01 June, 2005

Funny

You Paki dont have any internal issues to discuss about?
I request Author to give me references.
"Indian judicial system is one of the most impartial and strong Insitution in the world."
wait,
these are not quotes from any Indian newspaper(By the way even Indian newspaper do not provide this much information about India)
nor these re the quotes of some leader,
This is directely taken from,
University of Yale,USA coursebook for law students.
Not to mention one of the premeier law school of the world.

Aniruddha, Hungary - 01 June, 2005

same old wine - different bottlel

amjed jaaved a j malik 'loves' india so much that he cannot think of writing about any other subject.not about those ghastly killings at kfc in karachi, not about those thousands of cases of karo kiri,abuse of minority rights in pakistan but yes.. everything about "nazi" india.he has no idea that as a muslim he is more free in india than he could be in pakistan. he can worship at many of the innumerable mosques dotted in india without worrying about some islamic bigot plotting to bomb worshippers and worry even less about hindu 'bombers'who are virtually non existent.

aarvey, Hungary - 01 June, 2005

perfection

sure there are many things to be done in indian system. hopefully we will improve close to perfection.i know indians will work hard on it and they can take criticsm, coz india is the biggest democratic country . they r learning . watch and see.

riky, Svalbard And Jan Mayen - 02 June, 2005

I AGREE

I totally agree Hindus knowing that sikhs r not hindus then y do they try to make us look as if were r hindus? Guru Nanak clearly stated hes nor Hindu or Muslims - so its clear that were neither so y? Y do us sikhs have to gte married under the hindu marriage act? It says clearly in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib that were only alllowed to worship God in abstract form so y make it look as if were Hindus? We rn't even allowed to worship hindus Gods ect n tv serials they show sikhs worshiping thier Gods. Also the fact that in Punjab they fill the youth with the wrong information about sikhism in the schools so that it looks asif sikhism is part of hinduism. Such talking about the Gurus worshipped thier lord Rama wen in Gurbani it only talks about Raam wich is another word for God (like WaheGuru and Nirankaar)which was used even b4 the hindu God Ram even exsisted. Another thing is that they neva even respected the Golden Temple n raided it which no true Sikh will ever forget.

Aman Singh, United Arab Emirates - 02 June, 2005

pls put this effort in the development of your own country....or else you will beg....
musharraf once gave an interview in US and said that "we speak better english than indians",,,he was reffering to call centre jobs being going to pak...
but mr.mush...where r u now...and where r ur jobs...you people have nothing and show off as u have everything...
pehle apne ghar ko smabhalo doston....

harmeet, Jamaica - 02 June, 2005

Really Mr Amjed Jaaved

Hi Amjed Jaaved.. Thanks for bringing it to our notice that indian judiciary is that bad. We in India thought ours was good, impartial and brave, keeping the ordinary citizens' trust in our government system.. but ur article opened my eyes.. great.. ok.. never thought we are so bad.. if everything is rosy at your side.. then thats great.. we're proud to see our neighbouring country, that was about to default on its payments ( but bailed out by US after 9/11) doing great.. With the kind of stability and sense of justice in your country ( with its General president, army housing colonies.. shia, sunni clashes.. and nuclear secret selling scientist who's now under house arrest) you can definitely lecture us. But we are satisfied with what our judiciary wants to offer us and would never want your kind of system to be imported here..
Thanks for your time and concern.

Vivek, Hungary - 03 June, 2005

Dear Writer,

I really fail to understand that how come you have got the right to become a journalist. I want to know whether in Pakistan, a student journalist is asked to become a religion minded journalist or a neutral and fair journalist? I always read the news of Paktribune, and in almost aritcle I find stories which are communcal based and particularly they are anti-India. Even our newspapers carry subjects of Pakistan, but I have not seen a article which talks about minorities of Pakistan. In every article you are more worried about the state of affairs of a Muslim in India.

Sir, I would like to make it clear that a muslim in India is very happy and proud of being an Indian. How many Hindus in Pakistan are proud to be a Pakistani? I am very sure very few.

Coming back to your article of Judicial system, I agree to you that it is slow in India. But it is not denied. It is because of this slowness that big gangsters like Dawood Ibrahim are well settled in Pakistan. It is because of this reason only that Nadeem is based in London. It is not because he is muslim and so justice is denied. One more thing if you are talking about dalits, then please keep in mind that a dalit is given much more rights and liberty compare to any other classes in India.

You are talking about dalits and minorites of India. How many Hindus get justice in Pakistan? So it is better for you not talk about any religion. And I would like to give you free advice. You kindly focus on your problems rather than interferring in Indian problems. I am sure you are aware of Human Development Index, and in this Pakistan lags far behind India. So that proves that India is far better than Pakistan in any field.

And, for God sake as a journalist/writer you should be neutral and non-communal. Also try to publish articles about your own country problems. This will help you to achieve your development growth.

Jai Hind, Namaskar,

AMITSINGH CHAUHAN


AMITSINGH CHAUHAN, Hungary - 03 June, 2005

Lie till you drop your hat

It is quite comic that the Pakistanis are critisizing our judiciary when they are no better than otthers being ruled by Tinpot military dictator.India is a country where even prime minister had to surrender in front of supreme court's whishes, while that of paki S.C. is alomst toothless tiger that is as good as cat. So Pakis start living in real world , dont compete with us you cant do it in your 100 lifes.jai Hind!

Ajit, Hungary - 04 June, 2005

no comparison!

Why are all the Hindu brothers taken aback by the article. I see everyone critisizing Pakistani legal system. True, that we have religious aspect but the fact of the matter is that Pakistan was made for the Muslims in South Asia and every one should understand we are an Islamic Republic. While India on other hand is trying to get the image of a very secular system while treating its minorities on the basis of Hindu laws. Islamic laws in Pakistan should not concern anyone because thats what millions of people wished at the time of independence from british imperialist empire; to live under Islamic law (you know democracy is for the people!). But we do have minorities and we respect their faith. If sikhs would have listened to Jinnah, they would be living a peaceful and a very prosperous life under Pakistan where their laws would be respected because we respect Guru Nanakh and all Sikhs are very close to their Punjabi muslim brothers on the other side of LOC. Hindus only love your Bhangra tunes but we respect you as what you are (plus your Bhangra tunes:).

javed Khan, Pakistan - 04 June, 2005

Aman

Hi Aman,
Go, stay in India for some time and you will get answers to all your questions.

You just have to see the number of Sikhs bathing in Indian Holy rivers or visiting Temples and no. of Hindus visiting Gurudwaras.

Having sent some time in Saint Soldiers school (a School run by a sikh trust) i have come to know that Sikhism teaches people to be catholic in beleifs and use their common sense above all.

rr, Hungary - 22 September, 2005

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