The COVID-19 induced disruptions have only further dented the administrations of Justice while adding to the backlog of cases pending, which have now reached alarming levels.
As on 15th April this year 67,279 cases were pending in the Supreme Court, 5.75 lakh piled up in High Courts and a mountain of 3.8 crore gathered in the subordinate courts across the country giving a very grim picture of India's Justice delivery system.
In view of the rising pendency of cases, the number of holidays could possibly be slashed and by ensuring that Courts sit for at least six hours a day. In the current pandemic there is no reason why with all the precautions in place Courts should not function hearing just 15 cases in each session. This would help ease the backlog. And for every litigant his case is urgent.
The Judiciary seems to be placed beyond the reach of the common man while the influential and wealthy Ambanis and Adanis wade their way through. Courts of law can never end up as Temples of Surprises, as every order passed must be based on very sound legal reasoning.
For decades, there has been a gross failure in administration of the judicial machinery. Many Judges highlight all this in their speeches at various functions but those only remain good to hear while nothing gets done to cure the situation.
Many do not see an end to the litigation in their lifetime as it can take 15 to 20 years if not more for the legal battle to end. So there is a need to identify problems grappling the Judiciary by finding some concrete but practical solutions.
The issue of easily obtained and indefinitely lasting stay orders needs to be addressed. Adjournments for the asking must also be done away with. As the years pass, memories fade, witnesses turn hostile and justice becomes meaningless. Widely spaced dates is another problem especially in criminal matters with the under trials in judicial custody denying them their fundamental right to life and liberty.
The problems faced by citizens in their quest for Justice should no longer be ignored. The Supreme Court being the overall court of Superintendence needs to invoke its administrative powers to remedy this unacceptable state of affairs. If immediate remedial measures are not put in place the Justice delivery system, if not already, may sadly collapse under its own weight.