Thursday, April 25, 2024

Courts under scanner


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An efficient, incorruptible justice dispensation system is integral to the cause of good governance. Sadly, courts are today seen to be increasingly coming under a shadow of suspicion over the way they tackle cases. So many ills plague the justice dispensation system to a level wherein perceptions have strengthened that it mostly serves the purposes of only the high and mighty. Often, top judges themselves aired such, but governments are not willing to act or effect reforms to strengthen the judicial system. The observation by retired Supreme Court judge, Justice Madan B Lokur, about the Master of Roster system and his call to end the arbitrariness in this process of listing of cases to various courts, must be taken seriously. This is a process that is often sought to be misused by vested interests to subvert the cause of justice. This though is only a part of the larger problems.
Justice Lokur referred to the perception that if a case is assigned to a particular bench/court, the result can be anticipated. Governments, as also influential individuals, often escape from difficult cases allegedly by manipulations of the roster system. Another retired SC judge, Justice Kurien Joseph, has proposed that a panel of the first three or five judges of the apex court, or other courts, be assigned with this task. Justice Lokur also referred to the unacceptable delay in the disposal of cases through resort to multiple adjournments of cases. A whole lot of cases, from lower courts to SC, run for 20 or more years, by which time the litigant has breathed his last – without getting justice done to him or her.
The problem, essentially, lies with the political leadership. Despite the 10 years’ stability that Prime Minister Narendra Modi provided to the nation, he failed to act on several critical fronts during his two terms in office. He stunningly demonstrated his limitations. Beyond getting some Rafale jets, implementing GST, or laying out national highways, the nation failed to properly upkeep the governance system under Modi. Where reforms were the need of the hour, he looked the other way, and satisfied himself with the introduction of some welfare steps to woo the poor and their votes. Modi is now aiming for a third term, which he is likely to get due to the failure of the opposition to project an effective alternative. When justice turns itself into a purchasable commodity, it will have multiple adverse consequences. Modi also failed to control corruption at the bureaucratic level, as is evident in the pussyfooting by the central investigation agencies in tackling cases. These entities themselves are seen to be hugely corrupt under the Modi Raj.



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