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Can delay in justice dispensation system be excused thinking the old age saying that better late than never? But, remember that justice delayed is justice denied. A person had to fight a legal (civil) battle for 40 years to regain possession of a shop he had rented out forty years ago. What does a sorrow state of affairs this delay causes to the poor litigants?

Delay in criminal trial violates the right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. Protection of life and personal liberty. No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law. But, in fact, one person or other is destined to litigate for more than three or four decades to get appropriate relief or reliefs in a case irrespective of civil or criminal from a competent court of law ranging from lower court to Supreme Court in India. It is definitely very unfortunate and sorrows state of affairs.       

The Justice League

Each year, the World Justice Project surveys 99 countries to come up with their Rule of Law Index. The index is used by policy wonks and analysts to dig deeper into why some countries are better at protecting civil liberties than others, and where countries rank in comparison to similar income countries nearby. The U.S. ranks high among the 99, but discrimination in the criminal justice system keeps it out of the top 10. Here's the world's justice league, and a look at some of the stragglers.

No. 10: Singapore

Singapore has a global ranking of 10.  It scores best on matters of order and security, criminal justice, and corruption. For example, when asked if they felt safe or very safe when walking home at night, 94% said yes. Only 4% said they were the victim of an armed robbery in the last three years. On matters of political corruption, 73% of respondents said politicians would be prosecuted and punished, well above the average response of countries in Southeast Asia.

No. 9: Germany

Germany scores best overall on matters of civil justice and constraints of government power. On matters of corruption, more than half of Germans (59%) surveyed said political officials would be prosecuted and face jail time for crimes against the state, which is greater than the average in Western Europe. No one in Germany sees bribery within the courts as a problem either. What do Germans agree most upon about their country's legal protections? Labour unions. When asked if workers in Germany can freely form labour unions and bargain for their rights with their employers, 95% of them said they agreed. 

No. 8: Australia

Australia ranks highest on matters related to the government, from its positively viewed regulatory environment, to checks and balances within the government apparatus. For instance, when asked what an Aussie company would do if it was found to have run afoul of environmental laws, 66% said the company would abide by the rules either voluntarily or obey a court order. 

No. 7: Austria

Austria scores highest on both fundamental rights and its criminal justice system. Of the 12 questions asked about perceptions of crime and the justice system in Austria, respondents were more optimistic than their peers in Western Europe and North America. For instance, on a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 meaning a very serious problem, do Austrians perceive systems designed to protect witnesses and whistle-blowers are deficient? Austria scored 1.4 on that one, when the average in the region is more like 4.4.

No. 6: New Zealand

The Kiwis do better than their Down Under neighbors, especially on matters related to the federal government. When asked if they could request to have access to information held by a government agency, how likely would the agency grant it, assuming the information is both public and properly requested- -100% said likely or very likely, more than any nation in East Asia and the Pacific.

No. 5: Netherlands

Now we head to the best of the best. And it's all northern European. The Netherlands score highest on civil justice and regulatory enforcement. When asked to rank on a scale from 1 to 10 how serious was the problem of corrupt judges or a lack of court independence from the government's power, corruption was a zero and independence ranked 0.2,meaning respondents are very confident in their judicial system.

No. 4: Finland

Finland, judging by respondents there, has the best criminal justice system in the world. According to them, corruption of law enforcement and the courts is not a serious problem and the police have enough resources to catch the bad guys.

No. 3: Sweden

Sweden is No.3 overall, but No.1 in fundamental human rights. Eighty-five percent said they strongly agreed that religious minorities can freely and publically observe their holy days and events- - on par with the average score in the region- - while another 86% said the media could freely express their opinion against those in power without fear of retribution, a higher percentage than the average regional response.

No. 2: Norway

Norway ranks No.2 globally, but is No.1 on matters related to open government, regulatory enforcement and civil justice. Respondents unanimously agreed that the government would provide public information if requested, and a little more than the regional average said their municipal governments were adequately doing their jobs.

No. 1: Denmark

Denmark ranks No.1 overall, but is also No.1 on issues related to constraints of government powers and absence of corruption. Seventy percent said that high-ranking government officers would be prosecuted and punished through fines, or in prison if involved in a corruption case.

Some Reasons and Solutions

False Cases

Sometimes, people will make a mockery of the judicial system by filing of several false cases against their opponents to settle scores, thereby precious time of the court would be wasted in conducting the trial of those false cases. These type of frivolous and vexatious cases must have been nipped in the bud by imposing heaviest cost to get rid of the judicial backlogs to some extent.

 Devoid of Merit PILs

Unmerited PILs are filed by persons either on behalf of themselves, their NGOs or through   

Anyone else in High Courts and Supreme Court, which is a serious issue, as it take up extremely important matters. But this exercise lags behind because of misconceived interventions by individuals that impede adjudication of important matters. All such endeavours have to be dealt with sternly to prevent such misuse of PILs and waste of precious judicial time. To stop it once and for all such NGOs' PILs  be barred temporally as an interim deterrent measures or banned for life from filing unmeritorious PILs before any court in the country as rightly did the SC on Suraz India Trust, a NGO.

Timely Appointment of Judges

About 3.8 Cr cases were still pending in courts over the last decade. According to the sanctioned strength of Judges as of December 31, 2015, the Indian Judiciary was currently short of 20,502 Judges in lower courts, 1,065 High Court Judges and 31 Judges in the Supreme Court. If respective state governments or High Court would have done timely appointments of Judges, percentage of the pending cases could have been minimized drastically at least. Pending cases in SC has crossed 60,000.    

Conclusion: According to the World Justice Project (WJP) Rule of Law Index 2016, India has a global ranking of No.66 out of 99).  

No. 66: India

Now heading towards the worst of the worst, peace and love India ranks poorly on order and security (95 out of 99) and civil justice (90/99).

Avoid Wrestling Bout of Judges

Our country's judicial system is based on Rule of law. Even Judges are curbed to take the law into their own hands. Judges flexing of their powers in terms of issuance of orders and counter-orders to each other in the open courts on a futile contemptuous matter will certainly send a wrong message to the people, to whom courts are like temples wherein they worship justice. And above all Rule of Law means non-arbitrariness which can be ensured by guarantying freedom and one of such freedom is freedom of speech and expression. It is inherent in the Indian Constitution.

There are two terminologies which are frequently used by the courts of law in India. Justice delayed is justice denied and justice hurried is justice buried. In the former case, it acts like a straw for a drowning man that applies to common litigants; but in the latter, justice is never delayed, but hurried, and therefore justice is buried that happens when the litigants, for example, are HC Judges, High Courts and Supreme Court.     


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