Of late there was an animated discussion about the “judiciary system of India” by a group of students in a premier institution for management education. This subject was allotted to the young brains getting groomed for the roles of future managers as a subject for group discussion. They held us in a thrall in their constructive opinion making for half an hour.
“In India, the trial for a murder case goes on for decades but in Russia the justice gets done within a fortnight. Therefore our systems need revamping”-Remarked one female post-graduate student excitedly.
“The sorry state of functioning is only due to the lack of modernization in disposing the cases by the courts and also unscientific inquiry by the Police force in proving material as evidence. Both have to be improved”-A boy added supporting the girl companion.
“The overuse of fake evidence and witness has to stop and those indulging in providing it must be given hard punishment”-Another boy said matching the pace with the earlier two.
Indeed social justice in India is a matter of concern. The ways legal norms are flouted by interpreting those in various ways in the court make us sad. But wherever the courts in India have performed not satisfactorily due to lack of evidences, media and public conscience showed remarkable courage by again knocking on the door of it to deliver the justice.
“If the norms in the legal books can free ten culprits just to help one innocent, our courageous press and public can again put the same ten culprits in the dock just to create one extra-ordinary judgment in the annals of court”- One boy remarked brilliantly while concluding the same group discussion.
First let’s have an over all idea about the way legal institutions have been set up and those functioning in our nation.
How judiciary system works in India?
The Supreme Court of India is the topmost institution in the legal echelon. Presently it is located in New Delhi and is presided by the Chief Justice of India. The Supreme Court of India comprises of many benches to deal with litigations. The verdict given by the Supreme Court of India is final and it can not further challenged with the jurisdiction of any other court. The Supreme Court of India deals with the disputes between two States and even with differences arising out of dealings between the Union government and any State government. The president of India seeks opinion in different matters from it. It has its largest bench comprising of 5-7 judges, known as the Constitution Bench. The Constitution Bench is formed as per the importance and weight of the cases.
Under the supervision of the Supreme Court of India, there are High courts in almost all the State capitals and in the Union territories. All the High Courts have a lot of power and those deal with both criminal and civil cases. The cases which come to the High courts are usually passed on from the district courts and lower courts after being delivered verdicts there. The judges in the High courts are appointed by the President of India and Chief Justice and the Governor of the particular state. Established in 1862, the Calcutta High Court is the oldest one among the eighteen High courts across India in other State capitals.
Below the High courts there are district courts in every district of the state. The district courts are administratively and judicially handled by the High courts. Usually there is one judge in the district court.
Below the district courts there are also other secondary courts, which work under the former. These are courts by the civil judge and the Chief judicial magistrate. The Civil court looks after the civil cases and the court of the latter handles criminal and other types of offences.
Apart from the courts there are also various tribunals set up by government to take care of specific kinds of cases. Those are as follows;
- Income Tax Appellate Tribunal
- Central administrative Tribunal
- Intellectual property Appellate Tribunal
- Railways claims Tribunal
- Appellate Tribunal for Electricity
- Debts Recovery Tribunal I & II.
- Central Exercise service Tax Appellate Tribunal
- Debt Recovery Tribunal
Besides the above, the ministry of law oversees the functioning of all the Courts and Tribunals. The government also sets up commissions and committees from time to time to inquire in to serious matters.
Few facts about the judiciary system in India
The Courts function in slow manner- The prevailing idea is cases remain sub judice in India for abnormally long time. But it does not mean judges and legal system deliberately delay it. Actually minute observation of the facts in an offence is exhaustive. The cross examinations of witnesses and manual processing of prosecution take the lion’s share of available time in the courts. The defending lawyers in the cases take help of every loop hole in the law to deliberately delay the work of the court to gain from time. The fact is as the time keeps on going, irrespective of the sensational nature of case, it is shifted to oblivion of public memory. Important witnesses turn hostile in the mean time due to the slow and arduous nature of work and it benefits the criminals and offenders.
Prosecution inside the court is a huge and critical matter- Be it any kind of legal dispute, the courts have to depend on many other government organizations to facilitate their verdicts for substantiation of matters as evidences. Take for instance the forensic reports for a homicide. The court may seek explanations from various private and government organizations and time taken for this is usually long.
The conduct of the judges in Indian courts is not above board- There have been instances in the past where conduct of the judges were questioned. Recently a senior judge in the Calcutta high court has been proven guilty in a corruption case. In another instance a senior judge in the state of Karnataka, was charged with corruption for possession of properties higher than his income. There have been cases of impeachment of the judges for corruption and malpractices.
The Supreme Court of India has the highest trust of public- People still have faith in the functioning of the Supreme Court of India. Literally it is the most sacred institution for its credibility and clarity in settling all kinds of legal disputes. It has got the highest trust of public for giving social justice.
Courts need more reforms and sophistication- Recently a lot of changes have been incorporated to facilitate the work inside the court. Examples are trials through video conferencing, computerization and speedy trials in the fast track courts. But as and when the courts need information from outside sources, there has to be better systems for coordination, which are less time-consuming.