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PROBLEM WITH JUDICIAL PROCESS IN INDIA

INTRODUCTION

Every action the judge takes to uphold justice is referred to as the judicial process.[1] The Indian judiciary is a single, integrated system with a pyramidal structure, with the Supreme Court at the top, the High Court at the center, and the District and Subordinate Courts at the bottom. The Indian Judicial Process entails the filing of a case, pleadings, the presentation of evidence, arguments, judgment, appellant process and execution. Every ideal judicial system strives to achieve certain objectives, including:

  • Punishing the offenders;
  • Exculpate the innocent;
  • The rights of those who have been wronged legitimately are upheld;
  • The offender must compensate to aggrieved parties.[2]

Although the Indian judicial system strives to achieve these objectives and adhere to the law to treat victims with justice, the primary causes of the ineffectiveness of the legal system include obstacles like the backlog of cases, complex procedures, manual processes, external interference, a lack of technical infrastructure and a lack of architecture and infrastructure. Due to these difficulties, it is very difficult to attain justice, which is the judiciary’s principal goal.

INDIAN JUDICIARY

One of the three pillars of government, the judiciary is responsible for interpreting the law, delivering justice, and resolving disputes for all citizens.[3] Indian Judiciary work on a pyramidal structure having the Supreme Court at the top, High Courts at the middle, and District & Subordinate Courts at the bottom[4]. By the Regulating Acts 1773, the first Supreme Court of Judicature was formed in Calcutta in 1774.[5] Additional Supreme Courts were also formed in Madras and Bombay in 1800 and 1823, respectively.[6] The Supreme Courts of Bombay, Madras and Calcutta were eliminated in 1862 by The Charter of the High Court of Calcutta. In 1862, the First High Court of India, now known as the Supreme Court of Calcutta was created.[7] After independence the Supreme Court of India was established in 1947 currently, the Supreme Court is situated in Delhi and there are approximately 18735 District & Subordinate Courts and High Courts in India.[8] Additionally, District & Subordinate Courts are separated into Criminal Courts and Civil Courts. The Indian Judiciary’s duties include administering justice, interpreting and upholding the law, defending fundamental rights, protecting the constitution and performing additional advisory, administrative and other duties.[9]

CHALLENGES

The following issues have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the Indian legal system:

Backlog of Cases – The Indian judiciary currently has more than 4.7 crore cases outstanding.  The judiciary is burdened by the backlog of cases, which impedes the administration of justice. Several factors contribute to the enormous case backlog in the Indian judiciary, including a dearth of judges (on average, according to data from the Law Ministry, there are 19 judges for every 10 lakh people)[10], another factor contributing to the case backlog is judicial adjournments, which occur when regular sessions are postponed. ADR is rarely used, which places an undue burden on the courts and strengthens the cases. These are a few reasons why the Indian judiciary has a significant backlog of cases, which ultimately affects the judicial process.

Complex Procedure – The judicial process is impacted by several intricate processes in the Indian judiciary. The legal process and criteria are difficult for the average person to comprehend. It is difficult to follow and comprehend the formalities of the court, including the process of submitting a plant, the preparation of arguments, the required document format, and other formalities. The judicial process is impacted by the organization and operation of the judiciary.

Manual Process – The judiciary’s manual process results in an overwhelming amount of paperwork. The Indian judiciary utilizes around 11 billion documents annually, demonstrating our judiciary’s reliance on paper. District courts and subordinate courts are extensively reliant on paper; every document is provided on paper, and paper is used at every stage of proceedings, despite the Supreme Court’s recent focus on paperless courts. The legal process is impacted by the usage of paper because it is difficult to manage and is more likely to be lost or destroyed than it is by environmental effects.

External Interference – The legal system is contaminated by outside involvement such as political interference, corruption, bribery, etc. The Indian judiciary has been influenced politically in a variety of ways, including judge transfers and threats against advocates. The judicial process is heavily impacted by corruption in the court system, judge bribery, and advocate attempts to influence the outcome.

Lack of Technological Infrastructure – The absence of digitalization and court processes in India has an impact on the effectiveness of the legal system since Indian courts lack the infrastructure to facilitate technological innovation in the judicial process. Although the Supreme Court encourages the use of iPads and Wi-Fi, other courts should follow likewise.

Lack of Proper Structure and Infrastructure – One of the factors that affect the judicial process is the absence of courts. The Indian judicial system is hampered by a lack of medical, hygienic, and library facilities. There are only 20,143 courtrooms nationwide, of which 620 are rented halls.[11]

SOLUTION

Here are some solutions, which could help to solve the contemporary problems of the judicial process:

Increasing Public Awareness – Ineffective cases in the legal system can be decreased with legal aid programs and the promotion of legal knowledge to the country’s general public. Understanding one’s rights and obligations under the law can undoubtedly aid one in comprehending the intricate legal system.

Enhance Judicial Administration – Proper administration of judicial work will indubitably enhance the judicial process. Proper case listing, skilled court staff, strict adherence to the timings of court, workload assessment, etc., also a corporation of the judiciary with the government will assuredly enhance the efficiency of the judicial process.

Enhance Technological Use – Indian judiciary currently lacks the technology. Increasing the use of technology in the judiciary, especially at the district & Subordinate levels would serve to improve the efficacy and efficiency of the entire judicial process.

Infrastructure Development – The expansion of judicial infrastructure, such as suitable buildings, chambers, digitalization of necessary facilities, etc., as well as an increase in the number of courts, will contribute to improving the judicial process.

Increase The Number of Judicial Officers – Justice is being delivered late as a result of the judge shortage in the contemporary court system. The judiciary will improve when more competent judges are appointed.

Accountability and Performance Review – Regular assessments of the court’s performance are necessary to help spot any shortcomings. Additionally, it assists in establishing the accountability of court officials. Evaluations that are conducted regularly can help find areas for growth and honor exceptional performance.

CONCLUSION

A collection of laws is employed to control society. An effective and efficient judicial process is necessary for the court to regulate and carry out the laws. The term “judicial process” refers to all aspects of the judicial system, such as the court system’s organizational structure, legal processes, appeals, etc. The Indian judicial system is well-structured, capable of upholding the rule of law and defending individual rights, but several issues, including a backlog of cases, difficult procedures, manual processes, outside interference, a lack of technological infrastructure and a lack of structure and infrastructure, hinder its effectiveness. To remove all barriers in the judicial system, both the government and the judiciary must reform the entire legal system. This can be done by raising public awareness, utilizing technology, improving administration, hiring more judges, developing better infrastructure and establishing accountability.

Author(s) Name: Ruchit Yadav (Institute of Law, Nirma University)

 Reference(s):

[1] Gokul Prasad, ‘Nature Of Judicial Process’ (Legal Service India) <https://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-5491-nature-of-judicial-process.html> accessed 13 July 2023

[2] Ajay Bahl and Vijayendra Pratap Singh, ‘Reforming the judicial process in India: Principle-based solutions’ (Bar and Bench, 27 July 2020) <https://www.barandbench.com/columns/reforming-the-judicial-process-in-india-principle-based-solutions> accessed 13 July 2023

[3] ‘Indian Judiciary – Indian Polity Notes’ (Byjus) <https://byjus.com/free-ias-prep/indian-judiciary/> accessed 14 July 2023

[4] Ibid

[5] ‘Supreme Court of India’s History, Origin & All you need to Know’ (Legal Desire, 21 October 2017) <https://legaldesire.com/supreme-court-indias-history-origin-need-know/#:~:text=After%20India%20attained%20independence%20in%201947%2C%20the%20Constitution,on%20all%20Courts%20within%20the%20territory%20of%20India.> accessed 14 July 2023

[6] ‘Supreme Court of India’ (Drishti IAS, 11 September 2019) <https://www.drishtiias.com/important-institutions/drishti-specials-important-institutions-national-institutions/supreme-court-of-india> accessed 15 July 2023

[7] Antalina Guha, ‘High Courts in India- History, Jurisdiction, Composition’ (Finology, 21 June 2021) <https://blog.finology.in/constitutional-developments/high-courts-in-india> accessed 16 July 2023

[8] ‘The National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG)’ (Department of Justice, 27 June 2023) <https://doj.gov.in/the-national-judicial-data-grid-njdg/> accessed 16 July 2023

[9] Tanya Kaushal, ‘Functions of Judiciary 2023’ (Toprankers, 3 April 2023) <https://www.toprankers.com/functions-of-judiciary> accessed 16 July 2023

[10] ‘India has 19 judges per 10 lakh people: Data’ (The Hindu, 24 September 2018) <https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/india-has-19-judges-per-10-lakh-people-data/article25030009.ece> accessed 17 July 2023

[11] ‘Insights into Editorial: Judicial infrastructure, a neglected case’ (InsightsIAS, 11 December 2021) <https://www.insightsonindia.com/2021/12/11/insights-into-editorial-judicial-infrastructure-a-neglected-case/> accessed 17 July 2023