Justice sustains the universe, protects and embellishes an individual and supports and holds society together. Lack of justice debases individual and disintegrates society. Justice is the basic attribute of God. He is just, upholds justice and loves that justice should prevail on earth among His servants. No nation can survive in the absence of justice and no progress is possible under a deficient judicial system.
Judiciary is the third but most vitally important pillar of government. Law’s delay has been a popular subject of discussion and even criticism. People want that justice delivery system in a country should be quick, efficient and transparent. As regards transparency, it is said that justice should not only be done but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done.
Justice delivery system of a big country like India is far from satisfactory. The number of pending cases in our courts has gone up to 3 crore. It is estimated that it would require 300 years to clear this backlog. It is not only a grave situation but also a very dangerous one as everyday the number of pending cases is increasing. Law’s delay generates frustration and resentment in the minds of litigants, and enhances avoidable social tensions and conflicts.
In the recently held conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts in New Delhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh underscored that corruption was another challenge that we face both in the government and the judiciary. But Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan tried to downplay the comment of Prime Minister and said that the latter had only referred to corruption in the government. Union Law Minister H.R. Bhardwaj also downplayed Prime Minister’s remarks and asserted that judiciary is the only institution in India which people think in corruption-free.
It would be judicious on our part to withhold our own comments on the state of affairs in the judiciary. But the facts cannot be swept under carpet that litigants, who face the music in our courts, are increasingly feeling that judiciary at the lower levels is not free from corruption. Manipulation of judicial process and use of money is a common disease rampant in lower courts. You cannot move even a small piece of paper without warming the palms of concerned persons.
There had been a suggestion to establish family courts to reduce the burden on our courts. But unfortunately no perceivable headway has been made in this regard. Prime Minister regretted that the proposal that at least one family court should be established in 465 districts has not been implemented by the States. The Chief Justice pleaded for setting-up of new courts to deal exclusively with 59 lakh petty cases. He wanted higher budgetary allocation for judiciary as the present level of funds is grossly inadequate. It requires urgent attention if we want to improve the working of our judicial system. Otherwise it may crumble under its own weight.
It is the basic duty of a democratic government and efficient judiciary to maintain and protect the dignity and honour of judiciary. The Chief Justice has rightly said that if the courts are unable to dispose of the cases within a reasonable time, the State would not be in a position to maintain law and order. Therefore justice for all, justice without delay, justice at affordable cost and justice without corruption should be the motto for building a just and prosperous India. And there should not be any compromise in achieving this objective.