The criminal statute of India provides laws for providing justice to people and this all laws are successfully executed by our judiciary by giving punishments to lawbreakers/ offenders. Judiciary is understood for its impartiality, independence and justice-oriented approach. However, recently the capabilities and way of functioning of the judiciary were challenging as a feeling of disillusionment and frustration was witnessed among the people of this country. The biggest challenge being faced by the judiciary is a delay in the dispensation of justice and cases. Our criminal justice delivery system should be moderated in such a way that delay can’t be caused by the accused because delay defeats justice.
“The greatest drawback of the administration of justice in India today is due to delay of cases. I am not aware of any country in the world where litigation goes on for a long period as India. The law may or may not be an ass, but in India, it is certainly a snail and our cases proceed at a pace which would be regarded as unduly slow in the community of snails. Justice has to be blind but I see no reason why it should lame. Here it just hobbles along, barely able to work.”
There's a legal maxim which states that "JUSTICE DELAYED is JUSTICE DENIED" means if a party that has suffered injury has legal remedies at its disposal, but they don't proceed on time, they are indeed the same as having no remedy at all.
This idea underlies the right to a speedy trial and the rights to speed up the justice system since the injured party has no chance or a solution to the injury. It is unacceptable for the injured party to suffer. Delayed denial of justice is the strongest mockery of the law. It is not just mockery; the delay literally destroys the country's entire justice system.
In reality, the numbers tell the tale. In India, about 73000 people are judged by one judge. This evidence is 7 times worse than the US estimate of Bloomberg Business Week, says: “if the nation’s judges attacked their backlog nonstop- with no breaks for eating or sleeping- and closed 100 cases every hour, it would take more than 35 years to catch up.”
The delay in undertrials is a big issue. In India, thousands of people are already being taken to justice in prisons. 60% of the total prisoners in India are on trial, according to rough figures. The prosecutor might not launch a trial for many years, which could lead to their acquittal, as in India the average conviction percentage is just 6%. In hundreds of cases, the persons were in jail as undertrials for more years than the maximum punishment that can be awarded under the law.
The pendency of cases: The pendency of litigation is one of the most critical issues in the Indian justice system. As the vacancies are filled, there is pendency to decline and the court system is effective. The number of cases pending before the Supreme Court rose to around 60,000. In district courts 25- 30 million cases pending, while the state courts have a backlog of 34 lakhs cases. Many cases are still between 25 and 30 years old. The longer a case lasts, the more costly it becomes to do.
· Corruption: The judiciaries (in some cases) also have been shown to be complicit in corruption, like other foundations of government, the executive and the legislative. No system of accountability has been developed. The media tends to rely more on highlighting wrongdoing in other areas, particularly in the management. It is a law that any minister who receives fees or distributes money during voting times will come to spotlight, though one court clerk who chooses the day of trial and fixes the case date is not known.
Another cause for delay is the habit of the lawyer's taking postponement. Often practitioners unfairly do notice lawsuits on competing sides to collect money from clients. Any of them are postponed day by day ongoing futile discourse.
Another factor for the sluggish justice is the lack of a working philosophy of the judiciary. Everything legal work is performed very slowly. The attraction of vacations dilates and procrastinates the work of the judiciary. The number of working days in the High Court is so less that they can accurately be counted. This raises the number of mountains waiting for court trials.
The rules against crime have become obsolete. The government agencies have harassed innocent civilians and put very high pressure on the judiciary to resolve cases with limited, redundant law.
The complexity of crimes-
The crime numbers have been increasing rapidly in recent times and, due to technological growth and innovation, the nature of crimes is also becoming more complex. India's criminal system does not include the recent era's new crimes. Inefficient procedures for investigating crimes resulted in a haphazard investigation and delayed justice.
Inequality of Justice-
Even for serious crime the rich and the strong are hardly convicted. The increasing connection between politics and crimes makes it extremely difficult to do justice to the poor and marginalized.
Lack of public confidence-
Civilists have stopped relying on CJS at the present time because it is costly, complex, and has lengthy procedures. This has led to social problems such as mob lynching.
In Safdar Hasmi murder case, which was killed by political opponents, the criminal was punished after a long period of 15 years.
In Tanduri murder case, the accused a Delhi Congress Leader Sushil Sharma was convicted with death sentence after long 8 years 6 months.
In Model Jesicalal murder case and Madhumita Sharma murder case, accused persons were punished after a long legal battle. The SC of India is not even immune to delays.
It’s much-acclaimed judgment in the D.K. Basu case in 1996, known for its directives aimed to prevent custodial torture, took 10 years to be reached. If a judgment takes this long time in the SC what can be expected from courts of lesser authority?
Three enemies of the justice system exist confusion, delay and costs. Uncertainty and delay both create a sense of doubt and discomfort in the litigants' minds, although lawyers and judges barely understand this. It is important that the victim gets justice in good time.
The essence of criminal justice is a speedy trial. It is undoubtedly a denial of justice to be delayed in trial alone. It harms a man who is detained because of trial delays. Speedy trial constitutes an integral and fundamental part of the fundamental right of life and freedom enshrined in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Speedy trial is also a constitutionally guaranteed right in the United States.
It states that everyone who is detained may take precedence during a reasonable amount of time or even be released prior to trial. In addition, in each proceeding involving the fundamental rights of persons, the procedure should be reasonable, fair and just.
It is now about time we emerged from this dormant state and something efficient is done to speed up the Indian judiciary. Many of the measures that should be done to speed up the legislation are as follows:
The first thing the government does is to raise the power of the judiciary. The number of judges should be expanded.
The courts should be open for the year and people are available 24 hours a day. But the Indian justice system still operates differently. Summer holidays, winter holidays and even more leaves. When we bear luggage of 3 crore cases, this is not appropriate. Indeed it's necessary to introduce the special evening shift judge so residents won't have to wait until the courts open.
Judges should try to dispose of cases as soon as possible without reserving it for too long. When cases or petitions are reserved for too long, it feels like justice is denying or not given by the court. That’s why judges must try to give judgment immediately or in a minimum time after hearing a case, not after 20 months or more.
Judges of the retired SC should be expressly employed to advise on pending disputed issues and guide the agencies to quickly settle them.
In order to comply with a crime in the future, the classification of charges must be carried out. Many IPC chapters are overloaded in different locations. It could be possible to redefine and narrow chapters on crimes against public servants, contempt of authority, public tranquilly and offence.
Last but not the least, along with the Indian Judicial system it is also the responsibility of the citizen, not to waste the time of law with false cases for personal gains and benefits. It is the collective responsibility of all not to delay justice to anybody.
Criminal Statutes and the justice system in India is in a state of ambiguity. Thus, criminal statutes and judiciary are in need of reform. By reforming it there will be a huge change in scenario, peoples facing problems by this will comes to an end.
Constitution of India, J.N. Pandey