Lady Justice has for
ages donned a blindfold balancing the scales of truth and fairness. However have
we been able to uphold her quintessential essence?
Our Judicial system is in doldrums. In
March 2010, Justice V V Rao, erstwhile Andhra Pradesh High Court judge, is
known to have said that it would take around 320 years to clear more than 31
million cases pending in the various courts across the country. Also, it
was said at the time of independence by the then chief justice that around 5%
of the judiciary is corrupt; the last chief justice raised the number to 65%! That
certainly clears the picture, doesn’t it?
Earl Warren quoted ‘It is the spirit and not the form
of law that keeps justice alive’; question is do we have the spirit?
The state of affairs within India is not what our freedom fighters might have
envisioned. However, here we are today, living in a society which is fragile
with much to retrospect and improve upon; our judicial system certainly being
one. Yes it needs a complete overhaul which we can proudly pass on.
Never ending wait for Justice!
If you file a lawsuit or are even indicted
in one; it more or less goes on for the better part of your life. Needless
to say if you are a politician or the progeny of a rich industrialist; it would
only be a matter of days before you would be off to some foreign country under
some false pretext while your lawyer keeps
making appearances for you in the ‘temple of justice’. But if unfortunately you are a commoner; you would need to take time
out of your struggle for a decent life to attend the proceedings; which believe
me would go nowhere. That apart you would be looked at skeptically by those
around you. Yes that pretty much sums up the judiciary and the so called ‘judicial
system’ that we Indians inherited!
Is the talk of justice just a facade?
We have been witness to several incidents
happening all around the country; cases of corruption or murder, going on for
years but only a handful of those guilty being convicted. It’s a norm to see a
glaring red ticker across our television screens, screaming breaking news every
hour – rapes, murders, molestations, corruption, and a plethora of crime but
seldom punishment. The predicament is so appalling that nobody fears the law as
Justice in this country can be cheaply bought or easily abused.
Repulsive Judicial System!
Our Judicial structure is being taken
advantage of; abused by those that commit heinous transgressions and break laws.
The tale doesn’t end there; we have the judges and lawyers, with exceptions
ofcourse, that have bartered their integrity for immoral and unethical
benefits. To top it all we Indians have this innate quality to first break laws
irrespective of its magnitude; then ridicule people, making their lives a
living hell if entangled with the police and judiciary.
Apart from that our system repels witnesses
and hence a lot of cases end up in the wrong spiraling loop as Langdale
very aptly noted that ‘If witnesses are in this way deterred from
coming forward in aid of legal proceedings, it would be impossible that justice
can be administered. It would be better that the doors of the Courts of justice
were at once closed.’
‘Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies,
but let wasps and hornets break through’- Jonathan Swift.
A few months back, a pregnant woman Kshama
Chopra was killed when a BMW rammed the car she was travelling in. Do you
recall what happened to the accused? He was granted bail by submitting a bond
of Rs 50,000; yes the paltry price of lives of ordinary people these days. Doesn’t
it poorly reflect on the mere context of ‘justice’
in our society today? Why is it so horribly easy to dodge and play with the
laws in this country!
Justice Delayed is Justice Denied!!
Remember the Jessica Lal Murder, it was an
open and shut case but it took around eleven years for the sentence to stand.
Killed in the presence of ample witnesses, it took death of both her parents
and complete upheaval of her sister’s life before some sort of justice could be
done. Ofcourse, even that is debatable
as Manu Sharma still gets parole at his whims and fancies. Faulty laws, most
definitely! Infact the conviction came around when the media fought along with
the family and the rest of the country for a valid outcome; doesn’t it make you
wonder what would happen to you and me if entangled in this knotty
A powerful and wealthy man in India is not
guilty till charges are proved against him but similar is not the fate of hoi polloi
like you and me. Our lives are as good as over the moment we get tangled in
trinity of courts, lawyers and investigative agencies. Is this what
happens when the system is fault and bias free? I certainly think not!
Is our Judiciary truly independent?
Our Judiciary is supposed to be Independent
of executive and legislative branches. Well is it really? What independence do
we talk about where politics hinders a straight off execution of justice? Ajmal
Kasab is the biggest example of what utter nonsense goes on within the Halls of
Justice and how the political authorities of the country control it. He has
been caught on camera killing innocent civilians; he was on a mission to
carnage and by now should have been hanged for good! Would it be blasphemous to
expedite his trial atleast to give a befitting answer to the blatant attack we
were subjected to? If Sadam Husain could be executed why can’t Kasab? What is
the Supreme Court waiting for to uphold his death penalty? This paralysis, this
sheer inaction doesn’t it enunciate the despicable state of our Judiciary?
The fading light of Justice!
Ruma Pal a well known emissary of Indian
Judicial system slammed the courts for what she christened ‘seven sins’. In her words, Injudicious
conduct; hypocrisy; exploited secrecy; plagiarism and prolixity; self
arrogance; professional arrogance and Nepotism is what is the decree of
our judges and courts.
We have heard over and over again how there
is the need for reforms; to enforce public belief in the system and to set the
wrong to right. Generations have passed but the only thing that has happened is
increase in the backlog! Is it so hard to bring a change in India? Other
nations have done it; why can’t we? Is it merely the scale of reforms that is required
or is it that we just do not have the will to do it? Are we so apathetic
towards such an important aspect of our life as citizens of this nation?
What is the need of the hour?
An efficient judiciary with unbiased
and honest judges; an investigating agency that doesn’t harass the
witnesses or anybody involved in the case; laws that cannot be evaded easily by
those guilty and a system in which a lawsuit doesn’t become a family inheritance;
a swift and competent judicial system- yes all these are ingredients that could
pave way to an order we as a nation deserve. Will this ever be achieved or will
it always remain a Utopian dream; I don’t know! But I certainly know that this
will form the basis of a socio-political and legal system that will create the
society that is most definitely the need of the hour.
Having said all that, I must also acknowledge
that there is a section of the Judiciary which has still kept alive a glimmer
of hope; that someday the system as a whole will mend its ways. We need the
dawn when one doesn’t have to spend one’s entire life and still not see justice
being done. We need the sun to rise on the horizon on a day when Justice is not
anybody’s to buy. We need to awake and breathe in the air which is fragrant
with the droplets of hope for a fairer society; for a just society and for a
system in the form of our courts, lawyers and judges which upholds these.
us beckon an India where ‘Case Closed’ is heard more often and the guilty
however powerful are punished! Let our Courts become Courts of Justice
instead of Hollow Corridors of Confused Laws
where equality stands tall as William Penn rightly said ‘Justice
is justly represented blind, because she sees no difference in the parties
concerned. She has but one scale and weight, for rich and poor, great and