Judicial reform need of the hour

Published on Jan 21, 2006 09:05 PM IST

The morality and the legal system in India both have touched nadir. It is matter of shame, for us as Indian citizens, to see continuous degeneration of public morality and outright corruption and shameless display of arrogance by people in power be it judiciary, bureaucracy or elected representatives.

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None | ByProf R K Gupta, Chandigarh, Cityju@rediffmail.com

The morality and the legal system in India both have touched nadir. It is matter of shame for us as Indian citizens to see continuous degeneration of public morality and outright corruption and shameless display of arrogance by people in power be it judiciary, bureaucracy or elected representatives. There is free for all with people vying with each other to loot public money, indulge in bribery and extortion of poor man to fill their coffers.

Indian constitution writers had little idea about governance and of running a democratic setup. They borrowed from several constitutions and ideas thus making it a hotchpotch. They could never visualise rampant degeneration in public services and nexus of criminals, politicians and contractors (businessmen) to plunder the national wealth and public exchequer. In fact, after 58 years of independence we are exasperated to wonder why all this is happening. Where we failed? The three pillars of Governance are Judiciary, executive and legislature. But Judiciary is supreme since it has to keep watch on the other two.

Supreme court of India is not only a court of writs and constitution interpretation, It has big duty to ensure smooth functioning of judiciary in India, dispensation of fair and quick justice and keeping check on unfair, immoral and illegal practices in the country. It has to be given directions to Union of India to make such laws and expand judiciary to such extent that can ensure basic principles of fair, fast and cheap justice to common man and keep criminals at bay. Our courts have miserably failed.

Supreme court should look into their own performance and the performance and conduct of subordinate judges. Though law has given them enough power to reject fraudulent looking and vexatious cases, they hardly exercise the discretion. Blindly, cases are admitted at all levels of courts thus burdening judiciary. In my experience as many as 50% cases and criminal complaints filed in India are fraudulent and malafied which courts refuse to reject at entry stage. Though judges have power to put penalties they hardly do this and I fail to understand as to why courts give just 1.5 years or 1 year punishment that too without heavy penalties in cases like cheating and fraud whereas maximum punishment allowed is up to 7 years in the IPC. Criminals are enjoying fully and go scot-free and keep doing crimes. That is how the politician-criminal nexus developed.

I would advise Supreme Court and other courts of India to direct the Government to expand judiciary to minimum 3 times in next 5 years, for immediate reforms of CrPC, IPC and Civil Procedure code and set up Judicial Commission to check rot in judiciary. The courts should stop interfering in parliamentary procedures as they have no business to supervise conduct of MPs and MLAs, which the House concerned should look after. Somnath Chatterjee has done well and should not be interfered with. He is right.

In fact the MPs who were caught should be now arrested and prosecuted for bribery and abuse of sublime office of elected representative. Instead of wasting their time these judges should focus on lakhs of cases rotting everywhere in courts and should work for common man instead. Judiciary should get tough with lawbreakers, bureaucrats and criminals and start giving bigger sentences (maximum provided in IPC and other Acts) and levy heavy penalties to compensate victims so as to check crimes. Time limits should be fixed. I can assure that if judiciary follows above principles India will emerge clean within 10 years as a vibrant society we were once proud of.

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