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Indian courts should provide quick justice and dispose of all pending cases

It is quite worrisome that cases pending in various courts have crossed the five-crore mark

Indian courts should provide quick justice and dispose of all pending cases
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Pendency of cases can be attributed to several factors, including non-availability of adequate number of judges and judicial officers, supporting court staff and physical infrastructure, complexity of facts involved, nature of evidence, and cooperation of stakeholders such as the Bar, investigation agencies, witnesses and litigants; frequent adjournments and lack of arrangement to monitor, track and bunch cases

Expressing deep concern at the large number of cases pending in courts for years together,Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on March 12, 2016 suggested that there was a need to tackle this issue on a priority basis. He also wanted an annual bulletin on the status of each case. Alas, eight years down the line, things remain the same even as millions of people bear the brunt of the snail paced delivery system in our courts.

We cite an instance of how delayed cases can adversely impact one’s life.

Way back in the 1970s, SheelaMehra was among the most popular and celebrated Hindi news readers of All India Radio(AIR), endowed as she was with a baritone voice and clear diction.

Post-retirement, around a decade back, today her life revolves around visiting the office of Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) along with her husband R.K. Mehra, who had purchased a piece of land for Rs. 25,000 in Ghaziabad, a couple of miles away from the national capital. Mind you, Rs. 25, 000 was a big amount in the early 1970s. Like them many others also purchased land there. However, there hopes of owning a house away from the hustle- bustle of Delhi were shattered when GDA (then known as Awaas Vikas) acquired their land in 1975 and developed PratapVihar on the same. However, it failed to pay a single penny towards compensation to any of the owners, whose land was acquired by the GDA.

In their bid to fight for what was their own, theMehras and manyothers like them filed a case in the Ghaziabad court on February 2, 1978 seeking compensation. Unfortunately, they continue to visit the GDA office where but for assurances they are nothing. In fact, to add to their woes, the petitioners are paying fees to their advocatesdespite the meagre resources, which are fast drying up.

As a last resort, they (all in their twilight years) are planning to meet Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath urging him to personally intervene and bring relief them on humanitarian grounds..

Though nothing is moving due to bureaucratic hassles and other reasons,SheelaMehra says, “We had filed a case in the lower court of Ghaziabad with a hope to get justice. On the day of hearing, one person or the other does not turn.”

It is a matter of grave concern that cases pending in various courts have crossed the five-crore mark,the Rajya Sabha was informed on July 20,2023 by Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal.

Pendency of cases can be attributed to several factors, including non-availability of adequate number of judges and judicial officers, supporting court staff and physical infrastructure, complexity of facts involved, nature of evidence, and cooperation of stakeholders such as the Bar, investigation agencies, witnesses and litigants; frequent adjournments and lack of arrangement to monitor, track and bunch cases.

Moreover, the government has no direct role in disposal of cases in courts although some experts say that the Union or state governments can play an important role in disposing of the cases. For instance, if Adityanath directs the GDA to prioritise the issues of compensation seekers, thousands of cases can be cleared within no time. That can bring smiles back on the faces of people like the Mehras and others caught in a similar situation.

On February 17, Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud stressed the importance of focusing on trial courts to alleviate the increasing burden of cases in higher courts. He remarked, “Trial courts are where the solution to problems begins, there is a need to pay attention.

It is high time that India wakes up and provides quick justice to millions of people like the Mehras.

(The author is Delhi-based senior journalist and writer. He is author of Gandhi's Delhi which has brought to the forth many hidden facts about Mahatma Gandhi)

Vivek Shukla
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