Delay in justice defeats the very purpose of justice
Delay in justice defeats the very purpose of justice
Adv Afsha Basheer
The supremacy of law is recognized and appreciated in almost all the countries of the world. It is recognized because due observance and respect towards law is an inevitable requirement for the establishment of an orderly society.
The duty to interpret such laws has been given to the Courts established in accordance with law and for that purpose enormous powers have been devolved upon the courts so that our legal institutions will be in a position to deliver justice fairly, expeditiously, and in an unbiased manner.
Such an inviolable significance and supremacy of law was required so that courts would not feel handicapped while performing their sacred and highest duty of dispensation of justice.
Notwithstanding such significance and despite provided with enormous powers as mentioned in our constitution which is considered as a Grundnorm, our courts are not able to render justice in a radical manner. Litigants always show dissatisfaction with the working of these institutions.
Our justice system is mixed legal system of civil law, criminal law, personal or religious laws and customary laws. The framework of the current legal system has been laid down by the constitution itself that is the Constitution of Jammu Kashmir.
The Constitution is the supreme law of the land that is a fountainhead, from which other laws derive their recognition and must confirm to it. It has not only laid down the framework of our judicial system but has also laid down the powers, duties, procedures and structure of the various branches of the government including our judicial system.
Judiciary in Jammu Kashmir is one of the separate and independent branches of the government with the High court of Jammu Kashmir as the apex head. Judicial powers are vested in the High Court and in such lower courts as has been established by the law.
All the courts established by law take cognizance of the cases within their respective jurisdiction and deal with such cases accordingly. All cases of civil nature are dealt in accordance with the provisions of civil law applicable to the State of Jammu Kashmir, whereas as cases of criminal nature are dealt in accordance with the provisions of criminal law applicable to the State of Jammu Kashmir carefully drafted by the legislators so that the legal pitfalls could be avoided.
Our judicial system is a key aspect of our democratic way of life. It upholds peace, order and good government. Citizens look to the judiciary to uphold their rights and government look to the courts to interpret law.
People rely on the judiciary that their cases would be decided fairly, impartially, expeditiously and in accordance with the procedure of law. However of late, judiciary is regarded to have suffered from inefficiency, and judicial institutions are regarded as weak and notoriously slow.
One of the most vexed and worrying problems in the administration of Justice is of delay. Delay in justice has its own dangers. Delay defeats the very purpose of justice.
A litigant approaches the court of law with an expectation that he will get Justice at the right time but the intricacies involved in the court procedures and lackadaisical manner with which the proceedings in a court are conducted has marred the public expectation in getting justice. This has seriously impeded the public confidence in the judicial system.
Judiciary has to win public confidence and for that it has to work as per the expectations with which an aggrieved person approaches the court of Law.
Talking about our State of Jammu Kashmir, it has always been a highly litigious society. People bring matter before the court of law and institute legal proceedings to settle their disputes arising between the parties.
Such disputes include all suits, criminal as well as civil in nature. But the public confidence in judicial system is dwindling steadily as justice is endlessly delayed and incessantly prolonged. “The maxim justice delayed is justice denied”, which is a universal truism in legal practice forms the basis for the agitation of legal experts for the need to uphold the people’s right to a speedy trial and other judicial privileges that are meant to expedite the dispensation of justice.
The issue of delayed justice has become a source of concern to proponents of legal reform. This is attributed to the fact that our legal system is too complex and overburdened.
Delayed justice in our courts has propelled many people to believe that seeking redress in law courts is somewhat time wasting venture. Court calendars are jammed and people often say that judicial system doesn’t function expeditiously because they get only dates for next hearing of their cases and thereby get stuck on a particular stage.
Legal profession is considered as the noblest profession. The sanctity of the system necessitated that the justice should be delivered at the right time if it is not so delivered it may either lose its sheen and significance, and may become meaningless.
In some cases the litigation lingers to such a long time that the party which had originally filed the case expires during the pendency of the case and the same case is then continued by his legal heirs.
Judiciary has a great role to play in the state’s development. One of the vital ways to keep human rights safe is by preserving the prevailing role of judiciary. Standards developed by the judiciary have a significant beneficial effect of making the lives of people better and the accomplishment of the government’s goals easier.
It is essential that there exist laws outlining the rights of the people and duties of the state and the judiciary acts as protector of rights guaranteed by the law of land.
Therefore, its smooth and rapid functioning is a question of necessity. There is need for more courts, increase in vacancies of judges, judicial assistants, court clerks and adoption of new court procedures.
Moreover, to maze out of the higher number of litigation, the number of ADR centres should be increased which involves the mechanism of mediation, negotiation, conciliation and arbitration and there should be adoption of new court procedures and techniques.
It is said that an efficient judiciary would make the society to function in the way it ought to function It is said that an efficient judiciary would make the society to function in the way it ought to function.
The cry of everyone is for speedy hands of justice. Postponements and dilatory tactics should be excluded from the judicial system. The number of fast track courts, lok adalats, panchayast at village level should be increased.
It is not surprising that some crime victims choose to take the law into their hands to seek redress for their grievances or they simply suffer in silence and let the crime go punished which indirectly encourages the commission of more crimes.
Under democratic system of government, every citizen has a right to due process of law, which often times is so slow as to be the very cause of delayed justice. It is a high time to evaluate and take effective measures to curb the problem of pendency of cases. There are already more than 1 lakh pending cases in our state which could take years to be resolved.
The problem of judge-population ratio needs to be tackled down effectively. Law Commission of India has already recommended the increase in number of judges from 10 judges per 10 lakh people to 50. It can also provide employment opportunities to young, dynamic and skillful budding lawyers.
The right to speedy trial is not a fact or fiction but a constitutional reality and it has to be given its due respect. It is said: “The situation today is so grim that if a poor is able to reach the stage of high court. It should be considered as an achievement.”
It is quite obvious that our state is not yet as peaceful as we want it to be, because without justice there can indeed be no real peace. There is something fundamentally wrong with our justice system and the system needs to be overhauled.
Many debates and discussions are going on in almost every country across the globe to find out ways to mitigate this delay in justice.
We have to understand our responsibilities and bring a change in our thinking because change is must for a revolution. Lot of improvement is to be made so that justice is delivered within the time it ought to be delivered.