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Review: Justice, Courts and Delays

books Updated: Sep 25, 2009 10:20 IST
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JusticeSenior advocate Arun Mohan has a mission in life: ensuring speedy justice.

The senior Supreme Court lawyer, who has been associated with courts for 39 years, had taken time off from his work to write four volumes on the Indian judicial system and the problems that confront "everyday justice" as a public service project.

The first two volumes of Justice, Courts and Delays were released in July at a function where the chief justice of India, the law minister and the attorney general were present.

Mohan is now working on the remaining volumes that include a look at the criminal justice system and the relevance of law in the country's economy.

Justice, Courts and Delays attempts to analyse the causes behind delays in justice and recommends ways to get around the bottlenecks.

</b1>"It is also an endeavour to familiarise one involved in litigation or affected by it with certain principles and facets that would possibly help one understand the situation and make known diverse thoughts that could help litigation," the senior advocate told IANS.

"Delays in justice have been criticised for years. I have tried to identify the root cause and put forward a solution that is both affordable and possible. Of the quantum of litigation in Indian courts, over 80 percent is uncalled for.

"This occurs because our basic laws and court procedures mete out an incentive for the person who is in the wrong with the result that motivated by such 'profit', the person creates litigation (whether by himself or by forcing the other to go to court) and at the end of the day he makes a profit out of it. Resultantly, those with genuine cases get delayed. Moreover, because of delays, many people who need justice are unable to come to court," Mohan said, explaining the reasons for writing the book.

The senior lawyer said "the procedures and practices in our courts at the end of litigation do not take care to identify these factors and then pass orders that disgorge all such profits and compensate for the loss. There is also a high component of costs incurred by the party in the right which the court orders do not compensate."

Court procedures, said Mohan, needed subject-specific tailoring and an "approach by the courts which in practical terms enforces every party to 'stop-and-think-twice' prior to putting one's stand before the court."

"It ensures greater efficiency in judicial process," Mohan said.

The legal eagle said the country required a "central body to which all judicial officers can periodically send their thoughts for consideration".

Mohan said he decided in 1996 to do this research.

"Seeing the frustration on the faces of the people coming out of court, some even with tears made me think that there must be a way out. I felt that to find a solution to the problems would be a more useful way of serving society than continuing with my lucrative law practice," he said.

Most of the law books in the country, the veteran lawyer said, generally narrate the law and current legal procedures.

"On the other hand, my book is not about what the law and practice is, but analysing present laws and practices; it delves into the question as to what the law and practice should be so as to give the maximum utility of the rupee spent in the system and speedy accurate justice to the one craving for it," he said.

Mohan said that his forthcoming volumes include discussion on how an efficient judiciary will help raise the country's GDP.

"This will occur because if the law supports transactions, reduces motivation for breach of law and checks inefficiency, it will lead to economic growth. It is like agriculture production, which is dependent on environment. National productivity, similarly, is also dependent on the efficiency of the legal system," he said.

Mohan is a Delhi University law graduate of 1970.

Published by Universal Law Publishing, the two volumes are priced at Rs 250 each.