MAINTAINING TRUST & CONFIDENCE

Editorial GREATER JAMMU

Trust and confidence in the courts is essential to maintain the liberty of people ensuring full freedom under the nation’s constitution. In this regard it would not be out of context to mention that Chief Justice of the United States namely Warren E. Burger while addressing the American Bar Association in 1970 had said, “A sense of confidence in the courts is essential to maintain the fabric of ordered liberty for a free people and three things could destroy that confidence and do incalculable damage to society: that people come to believe that inefficiency and delay will drain even a just judgment of its value; that people who have long been exploited in the smaller transactions of daily life come to believe that courts cannot vindicate their legal rights from fraud and over-reaching; that people come to believe the law in the larger sense cannot fulfill its primary function to protect them and their families in their homes, at their work, and on the public streets.” This observation very aptly applies to the present scenario in India where people remain entangled in prolonged litigation processes and even the nation’s Apex Court orders are not being followed strictly in time besides other multiple factors that seem to be defeating the very purpose of administering justice. It is a fact that the Supreme Court is burdened with a huge backlog of cases and a steady rise in litigation with each passing day goes on making the job of the Apex Court more complex. Though the Apex Court has maintained the sanctity of justice and the undaunted trust reposed in it by the people despite all odds especially in view of Executive’s unnecessary meddling into its affairs, yet the indications of exasperation of the Supreme Court have come live with some remarks during the past few years that reflect the helplessness over its orders not being followed. This should be an alarming signal for the legal system being followed by the world’s largest democracy. The observations like “Nobody listens to our orders” and “why is there a mistrust”, coupled with comments like “citizens and the executive of this country have to accept and obey orders of the Supreme Court,” are hogging the limelight nowadays. However, given the trust reposed in the Apex Court by the people, the judges should not shy away from giving unambiguous directions. While all cases are not judicially manageable, at the same time it does not in any way come in the way of the apex court in giving directions. It is not only the pendency that is the irking factor but the executive’s excuse of more time being needed for implementation of the Apex Court orders by the competent authorities adds further to the delay besides compelling the litigants to again approach the Supreme Court by way of Contempt petitions. However, there is a constituency amongst the legal fraternity that holds the view that the apex court was not exercising its powers correctly and the government was taking full advantage of this. May be the Supreme Court hopes that the government will perform its duty well but in view of the past experience it should not expect too much from the government. Actually the question is that of the time-frame within which the government can follow the directions as it is answerable to the people and in this regard both the Executive as well as the Judiciary need to join hands and address this most vital issue. Keeping in view the SC observations reflecting exasperation many a times it needs to be realized by all the stakeholders that citizens and executive of this country have to strictly accept and obey the orders of the Supreme Court failing which the nation and its people will have to pay a heavy price. At the same time the Judiciary needs not to feel exasperated but must with full confidence keep up the undaunted trust reposed in it by the people of the World’s largest Democracy.