Judicial Pendency

Need of robust Justice delivery

Context

  • Over 6,000 Signatories Demand To Reverse Bilkis Bano Convicts’ Release.

Why in news?

  • Eleven convicts, sentenced to life imprisonment, released from Godhra sub-jail on August 15 after the Gujarat government allowed their release under its remission policy. They had completed more than 15 years in jail.

What is the issue?

  • Bilkis Bano was 21-years-old and five months pregnant when she was gang-raped while fleeing the violence that broke out after the Godhra train burning. Among those killed were her 3-year-old daughter.

What is remission?

  • The duration of the sentence announced by the court can be cut short under special circumstances while the nature of the sentence remains the same, depending upon the nature of the crime.

Indian Judiciary: A Backgrounder

  • Saviour of democracy: It speaks truth to political power, upholds the rights of citizens, mediates between Centre-state conflicts, provides justice to the rich and poor alike, and on several momentous occasions, saved democracy itself.
  • Visible gaps: Despite its achievements, a gap between the ideal and reality has been becoming clear over the years.
  • Slow in speed: The justice delivery is slow, the appointment of judges is mired in controversy, disciplinary mechanisms scarcely work, hierarchy rather than merit is preferred, women are severely under-represented, and constitutional matters often languish in the Supreme Court for years.

What led to under-performance of Indian Judiciary?

  • Population explosion
  • Litigation explosion
  • Hasty and imperfect drafting of legislation
  • Plurality and accumulation of appeals (Multiple appeals for the same issue)

Challenges to the judicial system

  • Lack of infrastructure of courts
  • High vacancy of judges in the district judiciary
  • Pendency of Cases
  • Ineffective planning in the functioning of the courts

Judicial initiative

  • The CJI has pitched to set up a National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation (NJIC) to develop judicial infrastructure in trial courts.
  • He indicated a substantial gap in infrastructure and availability of basic amenities in the lower judiciary.

Enrich your mains answer with this

Finland’s criminal justice system was voted the world’s best.

  • Under the Constitution of Finland, everyone is entitled to have their case heard by a court or an authority appropriately and without undue delay. This is achieved through the judicial system of Finland.

Dynamic suggestions

  • Creating NJIC: It will bring a revolutionary change in the judicial functioning provided the proposed body is given financial and executive powers to operate independently of the Union and the State governments.
  • Appointment reforms: There are many experts who advocate the need to appoint more judges with unquestionable transparency in such appointments.
  • Creating All Indian Judiciary Services: It would be a landmark move to create a pan-India Service that would result in a wide pool of qualified and committed judges entering the system.
  • Technology infusion: The ethical and responsible use of AI and ML for the advancement of efficiency-enhancing can be increasingly embedded in legal and judicial processes. Ex. SUPACE.

Way forward

  • It is time for courts to wake up from their colonial stupor and face the practical realities of Indian society.
  • Rules and procedures of justice delivery should be made simple.
  • The ordinary, poor, and rural Indian should not be scared of judges or the courts.

Conclusion

  • India’s capacity to deliver justice has serious deficits with under-capacity and gender imbalance plaguing police, prisons and the judiciary and fund crunch affecting state services like free-legal aid. So there is urgent need of National Judicial Infrastructure Authorityfor the standardization and improvement of judicial infrastructure and robust justice delivery.

Mains question

Q. Do you think there are serious gaps in our judicial infrastructure and justice delivery? Identify these gaps and provide some dynamic suggestions from your end in the context of Bilkis Bano verdict.

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