Public faith in judiciary has eroded considerably, says Justice Abhay Oka | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Public faith in judiciary has eroded considerably, says Justice Abhay Oka

ByAbraham Thomas
Jan 18, 2024 03:25 PM IST

Justice Oka said that throughout his career, he heard people talk about Supreme Court and high court judges. He spoke about the salary and remuneration payable to the judges of the district and trial court

New Delhi: Supreme Court justice Abhay S Oka on Wednesday said that the public faith in the judiciary has eroded considerably, and the reason behind this was the failure of the judiciary to provide quality access to justice at a reasonable cost.

Supreme Court Justice Abhay Oka (Twitter Photo)
Supreme Court Justice Abhay Oka (Twitter Photo)

“It is my personal view that whatever faith was there in 1950 (when the Constitution was framed), it has eroded considerably for various reasons. And the main reason is that we are not able to provide access to quality justice at a reasonable cost,” justice Oka said.

Now catch your favourite game on Crickit. Anytime Anywhere. Find out how

His remarks came during the second Shyamlha Pappu memorial lecture on Wednesday on the topic – ‘Access to justice in the context of 75 years of the Indian Constitution’.

Justice Oka recalled his interaction with stakeholders during his tenure as judge of the Bombay high court and said, “I firmly believe that judges should not stay in ivory towers. What I can gather from my interaction with stakeholders is that the judiciary has not fulfilled the expectations of the common citizens of India. We are lagging far behind.”

In his memorial address, he said, “In my view, we must find out where we have gone wrong...we must look back at the 75 years and virtually conduct an audit whether the Courts have really achieved what the common man wanted.”

After India became independent, each citizen had very high expectations from the legal system, said Oka. “The common man expected that this legal system would provide easy access to justice.”

Justice, he said, has to be quality and expeditious justice rendered at reasonable cost and not just filing complaints before the courts of law or police.

He listed a few reasons for the judiciary not being able to fulfil the expectations of the common man. One of the main reasons, he said, was that the trial and district courts are neglected.

“The real place where a common man gets justice is our trial/district courts... For a common man who cannot afford to have multiple litigations for social, economic reasons, perhaps, these are the courts which are the final courts,” he said.

“For years together, we used to describe these courts as lower courts or subordinate courts. There can’t be a lower court. Every court is a court,” he added.

Justice Oka said that throughout his career, he heard people talk about Supreme Court and high court judges. He spoke about the salary and remuneration payable to the judges of the district and trial court.

“Look at how these courts have been treated. There were fifth, sixth and seventh pay commissions. While the pay commission does not cover the judiciary, our civil and district court judges were the last of the category of public servants to receive a revision of pay... This is one reason we are lagging behind as we have not strengthened our courts at the grassroots level,” he said.

Speaking about the low-judge-population ratio, he referred to a 2002 judgement of the Supreme Court in which the top court ruled that in 10 years, the ideal judge-population-ratio should be 50 judges per million population.

As of date, there are only 23 judges per million population, he said, pointing this factor to be another reason for failing to achieve access to justice.

“To some extent, the legislature has clogged the system,” Oka said, attributing the rise of cases of cheque bounce under the Negotiable Instruments Act.

Justice Oka further questioned the priority accorded to commercial courts which constitute less than 5% of the cases pending in trial courts. “I believe our courts are for the common man. But we have dedicated commercial courts with all modern facilities.”

Justice KV Viswanathan of the Supreme Court was also present on the occasion to pay his tributes to Shyamlha Pappu, a senior advocate of the Supreme Court who was a champion of women’s rights and was awarded Padma Shri in 2019 for her contribution to society. She passed away in 2016 at the age of 82.

Get World Cup ready with Crickit! From live scores to match stats, catch all the action here. Explore now!

See more

Get Current Updates on India News, Budget 2024, Weather Today along with Latest News and Top Headlines from India and around the world.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Friday, June 21, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On