Saturday, 19 December 2015

Indian Judiciary: Too much power, too little justice

How many people get justice through the judicial system in India? Probably much less than 1%. The judicial system is so formal and technical that a common person cannot access it without the costly help of lawyers. Less than 20% of people can afford lawyers. The 78% (according to the Arjun Sengupta Committee report) who live on less than Rs 20 per day obviously cannot afford lawyers.

Even those who can access the judiciary through lawyers are usually frustrated by the long, laborious and expensive process which takes years or even decades to conclude, during which the litigant gets exhausted- physically and financially.

Many of those who get their cases heard relatively quickly, are faced by uncaring, incompetent or corrupt judges. Such people lose their faith in justice itself.

The problem is that the judicial system in India was set up by the British for their own ends (punish the ‘criminal’ natives and settle disputes between the British gentry residing here). It was not designed as an instrument of justice for the people of this country.
Image: http://bit.ly/1UOMlad

Thus, those who finally manage to get justice from the system are probably far less than 1% of the population.

The problem is that the judicial system in India was set up by the British for their own ends (punish the ‘criminal’ natives and settle disputes between the British gentry residing here). It was not designed as an instrument of justice for the people of this country.

Thus, for effective judicial reforms i.e. to have a judicial system which functions as an effective instrument of justice for the people, we need to re-think and re-design the judicial system. For this we need courts/ dispute resolution forums which can be accessed even by the poor and can quickly decide disputes without unnecessary formality. To ensure the integrity and impartiality of such courts, the appointment of judges and their functioning must be transparent and they must be accountable to the people through credible independent bodies.

Krishnaraj Rao
9821588114
krish.kkphoto@gmail.com