27/12/08

meaningless icons

from a paper on the very informative judicial reforms website:
When one is talking about access to justice than one has to keep in mind the level of justice. By and large people do not come in touch with the judiciary in order to enforce their right to justice. But what are the basic problems, which the people face when they do approach the court? They come to the court and then wait for justice for years on end. On August 2006, the figures of pending cases were 39 lakhs at the level of High Courts and 235 crore in subordinate courts, while 35000 cases are pending in the Supreme Court. Figures of cases filed per thousand population comes around 1.2 per 1000 population, which is far less than 17 cases per 1000 in Malaysia and 14 per 1000 in Korea. This shows that in India we do not have many people approaching the courts for getting justice.

Every Law Commission is dealing with disparity in the number of judges per population. According to the standards of the world, the country should have at least 50 judges per million population. But in India in 2004, we had 12 judges per million population. Apart from the fact there are 2000 vacant positions in subordinate judiciary.

Who do these delays and backlogs impact the most? How do they impact access to justice? In case of the criminal cases, the poor people are the most affected. More than 70% of persons inside jails who are held on suspicion of having committed a crime are not able to pay the bail amount, which is very high. They are inside the jails for months and years, as they cannot afford a lawyer.
among other figures and facts mentioned in those few paras, i think this line best illustrates how inaccessible justice is to the great majority of the people in this country:
Figures of cases filed per thousand population comes around 1.2 per 1000 population, which is far less than 17 cases per 1000 in Malaysia and 14 per 1000 in Korea [italics mine].
place that figure alongside these two random facts: number of indians who do not have bank accounts (ans: around 85% of the total population), proportion of people in the country employed in the unorganized sector (ans: 93% of total workforce). those figures tell me: most people in india have a right to be angry. but why aren't they going to the courts?

it'd seem, for the great majority of people in india, not just the taj mahal hotel in mumbai, most of india's courts too are meaningless icons.

2 comments:

Praada said...

Even after the concern of "disparity of no. of judges" is addressed, how can the mentioned 70% of under-trials can get the access to justice ?

kuffir said...

praada,

yes, that's a valid question. the undertrials need legal aid which means more lawyers need to look beyond money.

 
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