‘Justice delayed is justice denied’ is a legal maxim that has been controversial on parts of its attributor According to ‘Respectfully Quoted’. A Dictionary of Quotations, it has been given by William Ewart Gladstone. While according to some sources, William Penn has expressed it in the form “to delay justice is Injustice.”It denotes that a legal redress available to a party in a trial must be provided within a reasonable time. If justice is not done to the sufferer within such time, it is considered same as having no legal redress at all. Law and order in a country are meant to solve the problems and inconveniences suffered by its people. For bringing justice to them, the judicial system of a country should be more efficient, responsive and quick in its administration. But in order to prevail justice to a person, it takes a lot of time due to many unnecessary reasons.
OVERLOOK AT THE WORKING JUDICIAL SYSTEM IN INDIA:
The role of the judiciary system is to safeguard the laws covered by the Constitution of India which is mainly based on the Government of India Act 1935. India has the longest judiciary system which comprises of 444 articles, 94 amendments and 117,369 words.
SOME EMINENT CASES WHERE TRIAL IS DELAYED:
- Anti Sikh riots case:
On 31st October 1984, our former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her body guards. It was the aftereffects of Operation Blue star by the Indian Army at Amritsar Golden Temple which resulted in heavy damage to the temple. On PM’s assassination, the angry public and social supporters in Delhi unleashed brutal violence against Sikh community. It took life of about 2800 death and this is just a rough estimate. The major accused are not prosecuted and are free till date.
- Bhopal Gas tragedy case:
On 2nd December 1984, a deadly gas called Methyl Isocyanate(MIC) leaked from the Union Carbide Factory in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. The gas was so deadly that it took lives of about 3787 people officially and many more thousand people unofficially. It is estimated that about 5 lakh people suffered from this. According to a report came in Mother Jones in 2014, about 1.2 lakh people are still suffering from the aftereffects of this tragedy. After years of dragging the case, 7 employees were sentenced to jail whereas the Chairman of the company was never produced in front of the court. The company escaped from the eyes of law by paying 3200 crores as penalty. It is to be noted that still there are many families who did not get any compensation from the company or any other sources.
- The Uphaar cinema fire case:
On 13th June 1997, a fire broke out at Uphaar cinema theatre situated at Green Park, Delhi. The fire broke out at the time of a movie screening which took 59 lives and more than 100 were injured. The case went for about 18 years. And when the judgement came, the court ordered the convicts to pay 60 crore INR to the Delhi government without jail sentence.
- Nirbhaya gang-rape case:
On 16th December 2012, a girl was brutally raped by 5 men including a juvenile in a moving bus in Delhi. On 10th September 2013, 4 adults along with the juvenile were found guilty and was convicted of rape and murder. The Delhi high court stayed the conviction by the lower court upholding the guilty verdict and death sentence. The convicts are appealing against the death sentence at Supreme Court and also to the President of India. Even after the conviction of the accused, the victim’s family does not get justice in time.
REASONS FOR DELAY:
There are so many factors which account for the delay in bringing justice to people in time. Some known factors are:
- Non-availability of Judges
- The intervention of politicians
- Lack of evidence
- Non-effective investigation
- Change in statements by the witness
- Loopholes in laws
- Less use of modern technologies and using conventional methods
PRESENT SCENARIO OF JUDICIAL SYSTEM IN INDIA:
India is infamous for its number of pending cases. It is estimated that about 30 million cases have not been closed. In most of these cases, women are the victims. There are a number of hearings and trials conducted for a case. This is done to ensure that ‘even if a thousand culprit escapes, not even one innocent is punished.’ It is good in one way but it makes the speed of judgement slower.
REMEDIES TO REDUCE SUCH DELAYS:
- Setting up more fast-track courts
- Removing redundant laws
- Practising Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) system
- Strengthening legal aid systems
- Appointing more judges in all levels of courts
- Handling cases according to the priority and time period
- Not letting politics and politicians to mix up with judgements and cases
- Setting up Gram Nyayalays
- More Lok Adalats
- Amendments in-laws to close all loopholes to escape
- Filing an online FIR instead of conventionally written complaint
- Women council at each police station
SOME CASES OF GROUNDBREAKING FAST JUDGEMENTS:
- ‘Speed Justice’ is a name given by critics and supporters to an event in which Delhi high court cleared 1 lakh pending cases in a single day
- Nagpur molestation case in which judgement is made on 9thday after filing the case.
FUTURE OF JUDICIAL SYSTEM:
Currently, India ranks at62among 113 countries for the Justice system in a survey conducted by the World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index 2017-18. This was a leap from the previous position of 66 among 113 countries. India is slowly improvising its judicial system. If the remedial measures are taken properly, justice will be provided in the right time and India can reduce the number of crimes as people will have a fear and respect to the Judicial system of India.