eGovernance in India

Improving eGovernance in INDIA

Timely justice at Re 1 per head per month–3_crore_cases_pending_in_Indian_courts

Posted by egovindia on November 30, 2007

Timely justice at Re 1 per head per month
30 Nov 2007, 0129 hrs IST,Dhananjay Mahapatra,TNN

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/3_crore_cases_pending_in_Indian_courts/articleshow/2583234.cms

As many as 37.1 lakh cases were pending in India’s 21 high courts as of June 30, 2007.

On the same day, 2.5 crore cases were pending in lower courts.

Of the 792 posts of judges sanctioned for high courts, 206 are vacant. Of the sanctioned strength of 15,399 judges in lower courts, 3,031 are vacant.

NEW DELHI: People spend a lifetime in courts. Cases often take more than a decade to be decided. The judges are overworked, the infrastructure is shabby and the judicial system is creaking at several levels, especially in subordinate courts. Judiciary — the one institution that still commands the people’s respect — is straining to deliver justice.

Who is responsible for this? Is it the judiciary or the government? TOI took a close look at different aspects of the judicial system and found that while there might be a modicum of truth in the popular refrain of courts not working to their potential, the bulk of the blame for unfilled lower court posts and the creaky infrastructure lies with the government.

Not just that, the government is also responsible for fixing pathetically low salaries for judges. It starts at Rs 9,000 per month for judicial magistrates and goes up to all of Rs 35,000 for the Chief Justice of India. If the best legal talent doesn’t want to join the judiciary, it’s hardly surprising. And if there’s corruption in the courts, it is not surprising either.

TOI would like the salaries to be much higher to ensure an efficient and corruption-free judiciary. It worked out a model in which judges would get a respectable salary and it hiked the number of judges to the level required to clear the backlog within two years, and found the additional cost would be Rs 1,426 crore (see Times View). This works out to Re 1 per Indian per month — a small price to ensure quality and timely justice.

The government, however, has simply not focused on how to pull the judiciary out of the mess. Each passing year, Parliament and state assemblies pass more and more laws, yet no one in government appears to give thought to the obvious — that the number of judges should be increased to cope with increased number of litigants and that retraining of judges in new laws should be mandatory.

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