THE WORRISOME DELAYS …?

Improving the pace of the justice delivery system which can be accessible and affordable for all is the best guarantee for the welfare of people of India the largest democracy of the World. Though the delays in our justice system besides seemingly sloth attitude among the judiciary have fuelled anger among the peo- ple, yet the ease with which the common man and woman in this country are advocating for instant justice, without considering the encumbrance of the judiciary, is deeply worrying. It is quite unfortunate that delays in justice delivery have been affecting Indian society for long as the Courts right from lowest to the apex court are saddled with pending cases. Amidst this there have been several reports on judicial reform but the ground results continue to worry the common man. Today the situation is such that only the affluent and influential do get justice while the commoners continue to be eluded be it due to their inability to afford the ace lawyers or unawareness about their rights and last but not the least the inaccessibility factor. Despite the constitution- al provisions having elaborately vouched for a vibrant justice system there are multiple lacunae in the imple- mentation part that have left a lot of scope for making the legal system effective to optimum level. It is a fact that a robust, effective and democratized legal system is necessary to ensure that every citizen gets an equal access to justice and until this objective is achieved the underprivileged will continue to be eluded by justice. An effective legal system deserves to be equally swift, equally effective and equally impartial irrespective of the class to which the justice seeker belongs. It can’t be said that the nation has not made any forward move- ment in achieving an effective legal system because great strides have been already made in breaking down age-old barriers since Independence. However there is much more that still needs to be done especially in view of vulnerability of many sections of society to abuse and exploitation. Those at the helm of affairs of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) are fully aware of the fact that the hallmark of Indian society is diversity and complexity and it is in view of its endeavour to provide equal and effective access to justice at their doorstep that NALSA has been formulating various schemes from time to time. It is with this objective in mind and in order to bridge the gap between the declared rights and intended beneficiaries through a nationwide network of panel lawyers and para legal volunteers, that NALSA has launched multiple schemes. What could be more encouraging than the fact that Lok Adalats have also decided crores of pre-litigation and pending cases dur- ing the last three decades? Undoubtedly Lok Adalats have been effective and have relieved judiciary of a huge burden of trial, appeals and revisional proceed- ings thus benefitting the litigants especially those who are fed up with the justice system that is marred by delays. It is hoped that all the stakeholders will shoul- der the responsibility in this regard by contributing their lot in promoting legal awareness among the masses. In order to achieve the desired results, we need to have a bottom-up approach to address the issue of pendency.
The principal problem is with the district courts where lakhs of litigants come into contact with the justice deliv- ery system. Unless the problems of these courts are addressed, other temporary changes and ad hoc reforms at the Supreme Court and High Courts will have no bearing on the system, and the average litigant will continue to suffer. Today it is time to stop getting stuck up in discussing hackneyed issues and instead get on with implementation of reforms suggested by various committees from time to time in letter and spir- it. So, let all the stakeholders start working relentlessly for an effective legal system because no system, polity or society can survive if we fail to ensure justice.
Keeping in view the old adage that asserts ‘Justice Delayed is Justice Denied’, it needs to be realized that it is not just question of doing justice but ensuring the timely delivery of justice that matters utmost.