Judicial Delays: You can cry, laugh, or fight


          Judicial System in India is crumbling under the weight of 25,000,000 cases.

       Why blame the Judicial system?

          The blame must squarely rest on the Government, Investigating agencies, Lawyers, and not the least,the Judges themselves.

     Mr Bhagvanji Raiyani has for many years been fighting a losing ? battle against the sloth and inertia of the persons who run the Judicial system.

Self explanatory excerpts are placed below.

FORUM FOR FAST JUSTICE, MUMBAI

        (This write up cum letter is widely circulated through thousands of e-mails to citizens and being posted to the CJI and the Chief Justices of all the High Courts)

Union Law Minister Dr.Veerappa Moily’s well meaning plans do not percolate to the Judiciary.

Today’s (11th May)newspapers flashed the news on his admission that the target to reduce the life of any case in the court from 15 to 3 years (many cases older than 30 years) may not be met but when we met him last month on 15th and said so, he was a bit annoyed. Our letter dated 19-4-2011 addressed to him for an appointment to discuss further the delays, causes and remedial measures remained unreplied so far. We reproduce the same verbatim as under:

Date : 19-04-2011

Re : Judicial Reforms & Accountability.

Respected Moilyji,

Thank You very much for the courtesy extended to both Shri Ashok Arora and myself, when we visited your office on  15th March 2011. As suggested by you, I wish to bring to your kind attention few facts and figures, which will highlight our plight, in spite of  your zeal , drive and commitment towards implementation of Judicial Reforms, which unfortunately have not percolated down to the courts.

The inordinate delays in pendency of cases across the country, can be better understood from the cases listed below ( both Private Suits and PILs ) There can be no better example than quoting my own pending cases, where I am a petitioner / respondent or applicant / defendant. I argue my PILs in person in the High Court and at times in Supreme Court. I have filed 99 PILs so far and still counting, out of which about two dozen are still pending.

S.No.

PRIVATE SUITS

Pending Since

1

A property case in Bombay High Court being Suit No.1437 of 1981

30 years

2

A property case in Bombay High Court being Summary Suit No.1743 of 1983

28 years

3

A property case in Baroda District Court being Regular Civil Suit No.282 of 1986

25 years

S.No.

PILs

Pending Since

1

W.P. No.902 of 1998, expedited in 1998 itself, part heard is pending in Bombay High Court

13 years

2

W.P. No.2879 of 1999 admitted

12 years

3

W.P. No.2871 of 1999 admitted

12 years

The above are just the sample cases, where I myself am suffering, in my individual capacity.

Some of the common problems that I regularly encounter even today are:

1) Cases not heard inspite of listing on the Board: I normally argue my PILs in person. The board of the concerned bench may show at times some 100 odd matters, where my 2 to 3 PILs are also listed. The bench could hear 30-40 matters or even less and none of my PILs reaches, I wait for the whole day and return empty handed, dejected and disappointed. This happens to lacs of lawyers and their clients all over the country. What a colossal waste of manpower and material resources.

Time and again, I, a senior citizen keep pleading before the bench, to list the matter high on board, they fix the date but on that day the matter doesn’t appear. There exists no system or case management and that too, inspite of e-connectivity of the courts, and the best intention and efforts of yours and those of Hon’ble Chief Justice of India.

2) Adjournments:  These are available for asking, without any concern of its ramifications or implications for the other parties. Also only rarest of rare cases the cost is levied for adjournment as laid down under Order XVII of the Civil Procedure Code.

3) Long winded arguments / judgments / vacancies: Some judges do not read the next day case papers in advance.  On the contrary they waste lot of time of the court,  in understanding the matters, for having not done their homework in advance, then allow long arguments and even in matters of delivering judgments, it is again longwinded which can be easily simplified and use that time to dispose of more cases. To compound to the above miseries, many a time, the courts remain headless and vacancies of the judges are not filled for months. But unfortunately the above cited incidents are the order of the day in all the courts across the country.

4) My PIL W.P. (Civil) No. 122 of 2008 (Janhit Manch V/s. Union of India & Ors) on clearing the backlog in lieu of the specific directions in the judgement in All India Judges Association (2002)4 SCC 247 for increasing judges strength from 10.5 per million population to 50 judges per million population with commensurate increase in infrastructure is pending in the Supreme Court. Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan is arguing this PIL.

5) I have gone through the draft of The Judicial Standards And Accountability Bill, 2010, which is perfect except the provisions of Section 47 and 48 which may almost result in impractical situation like impeachment proceedings of a judge.

6) I have also gone through the booklet given by you to me titled as ‘Innovating for tomorrow, giving wings to tomorrow’s dreams’.

       It is beautifully drafted and many milestones are planned with specific deadlines. It deals with Procedural Holdups, Access To Justice, Judicial Reforms, Under Trials, The Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008, 13th Finance Commission, E-Courts, Judicial Standards And Accountability Bill, Enhancement Of retirement Age For High Court Judges, The Commercial Division Of High Court Bill, 2009,  All India Judicial Service, Legal Education, Vision Statement For Improvement In The Equality Of Legal Education In India, Bills Drafted For The Improvement Of Legal Education, National Litigation Policy, 2010, Limitation: Delayed Appeals, Central Agency Section At HT Building And National Arears Grid, Amendments To The Arbitration And Conciliation Act, 1996, Law Commission Of India, Legal Aid Movement In India, Notary Reforms, Indian Legal Service, Introduction Of The Protection Of Children From Sexual Offences Bill, 2010, Introduction Of Women’s Reservation Bill in the Parlament, Electoral Reforms, The Representation Of The People (Amendment) Act, 2010 and Gender Neutrality Of The Laws. This booklet is the outcome of your determination to carry out the mega plan on judicial reforms.

       The success depends on the co-operation from the Parliament, the governments at the centre and the states, the judiciary and the lawyers fraternity.

7) I am enclosing herewith the copy of our said Pil W.P. (Civil) No. 122 of 2008 which has chronicled lot of lacunas in the current judicial system. My suggestion is to deal with them point by point to the logical ends.

8) My concern is that the time is running out fast and your balance remaining term in office is 3 Years and your dream and commitment of reducing the backlog from 30 years to just 3 years, in the aforementioned current scenario, calls for some drastic herculean urgent plan of action, since all our hopes, dreams and aspirations are pinned on you.

I request you to give me an appointment for about an hour or so to discuss the issues raised in this letter when I will request Shri Prashant Bhushan also to remain present. It will be also appropriate if the Officers of the Secretary or Jt.Secretary grade of Ministry of Law and Justice remain present.

Thanking you,

Yours faithfully,

(Bhagvanji Raiyani)

Chairman & Managing Trustee

09820403912