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"Justice delayed is justice denied." This line was written by William Ewart Gladstone (1809 - 1898). He was one of the greatest of English Politicians and also former British Prime Minister.

It means that if justice is not carried away timely, then even if it is it is carried out later; it is not a real justice because there was a period of time when there was lack of justice.

 "Justice delayed is justice denied."  Is an old saying it means that if timely justice is not provided to the sufferer, it loses its importance and violates the human right. The Indian judiciary system still lives in old age.


Justice delayed is justice denied" is a legal maxim meaning that if legal redress is available for a party that has suffered some injury, but is not forthcoming in a timely fashion, it is effectively the same as having no redress at all. Judiciary, being one of the important organs of the state , but when Justice is delayed , the failure of judiciary starts. The failure of judiciary system can be estimated by the presence of huge numbers of cases pending in both lower and higher courts. Availability of not enough judges automatically enhances delays.

Another criticism of Indian judiciary face today is considerable delay in judgment. The denial justice through delay is the biggest mockery of the law.

The reason one goes to court is to get justice, and "Justice Delayed is Justice Denied" Unfortunately the judicial system in India is based on Evidence and facts, not conscience or morals, so it should be easier, once having the facts at hand, all it needs is argument and hearing and quicker pronouncement of Justice. A judicial system that cares only about evidence and facts shouldn’t worry about taming the souls of the plaintiff and the defendant with time rather give justice as quick as it can, this delay/denial of justice leads to increasing "Out of Court settlements" which are cheaper and quicker thereby leading to the loss of trust in our Judicial System.

There are several cases where -- judgments were delivered by courts after a long time. In Safdar Hasmi murder case, for example, who was killed by political opponents, the criminals were punished after a long 15 years. In Tanduri murder case, the accused a Delhi Congress Leader Susil Sarma was convicted with death sentence after long 8 years 6 months. He murdered Nayna Sahani and destroyed evidence by burning her body within a Delhi based hotel. In Model Jesicalal Murder case and Madhumita Sarma Murder case, accused persons were punished after a long legal battle. The Supreme Court of India is not even immune to delays. It's much acclaimed -- judgment in the D.K. Basu case in 1996, known for its directives aimed to prevent custodial torture, took ten years to be reached5. If a judgment takes this long time in the Supreme Court what can be expected from courts of lesser authority?

The Real Scenario:

There are about 10,000 courts in India. Out of these, one Supreme Court, 21 High Courts, 3150 District Courts, 4861 Munsif and 1st class Magistrate courts and 1964 2nd class Magistrate courts are there. Besides, there are many tribunals. There are 4.04 crores cases pending in different district courts across the country while there is a backlog of 34 lacks cases in State High Courts. 1,66,77,657 criminal cases are pending before Magisterial courts and 72,37,495 civil cases are pending in various subordinate courts. As many as 70 percent of these cases are -litigations from villagers. Again some of these cases are as long as 25 to 30 years old. The longer a case runs, the more expensive it becomes to pursue. Within the High Courts, maximum number of cases are pending in Calcutta, Allahabad, Chennai, Mumbai and in Kerala High court. Out of the pending cases in these High Courts, 88 percent are civil cases and only 12 percent are criminal cases. Maximum number of pending cases in lower judiciary are in U.P., Gujrat, Maharashtra, M.P., W.B. and in Karnataka.


They (victims) become gradually destitute by selling their everything to meet the fees of Advocate, law clerks and other expenses and still wait for justice. Sometimes they pass away from the world and never get justice.

Justice delayed will not only be justice denied, it will also destroy the Rule of law,- a basic feature of our Constitution. However, let us gird up the loins to protect and preserve it.

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