Saturday, January 22, 2011
Thursday, January 13, 2011
One of the prominent failures of post Independent India, is its Justice delivery system. Even after 63 years of independence, the system never refined itself. Most of the time, justice is delayed, diluted, delusional and hence denied.
The country now faces a serious challenge in refining its slow judiciary process sooner or its going to regret on the consequences of it. The Justice delivery system is painfully slow, and for lack of better word, its incompetant. Justice delayed IS justice denied. Last week we had two important happenings, that managed to make it to the main page. One of which is the accusation that former Supreme Court Chief Justice K.G Balakrishnan's son-in-law, accumulating huge wealth disproportionate to known sources of income in Kerala., and other being the 40+ year old Rupam Pathak stabbing and killing the sitting BJP MLA Raj Kishore Keshari in broad day light in Bihar, in front of a huge gathering of people in his home constituency. To put it simpler, the former is the problem and the later is the 'consequence' of the problem. Let the Indian penal code define, who is punishable and who is not. I am pretty positive, nothing is going to come up significantly in either case. But everyone has to admit, the whole system is ripped of and needs drastic changes. The Chief Justice in Supreme court is a unique distinction and is the top post a Judge can ever make it to. He would know the law than anybody else, I would assume. How could someone close to the person who managed to be Chief Justice of India, be accused of unlawful activity. Did the CJ know about it. what is his role in this. what credibility does he have. who appointed him to be CJ and why. Looks as usual as it always happens in India, dishonest people go to the top of the beurocracy. K.G Balakrishnan may be proved innocent and he may have not a role in this. I am not trying to pre-judge him prior to active investigation being made.. It is not just about K.G.Balakrishnan being good or bad, but it is just a case that firmly suggests, not everything is good, with people who are supposed to fix the country's problem. In the Indian legal system, the judges are considered unquestionable, and their honestly and credibility not debatable. This is absolutely crazy. It may have been true at some point in the past, but not anymore. The country has to wake up to reality, and pin credibility into the judicial system. The whole system of working needs to be reworked upon, and made efficient and transparent.
Judiciary is a big joke in India. Remember the last person who was punished for crime ? Either he was so notorious to be left out in the open, or he did'nt have the money for his bail. Most people who are not financially viable often get caught in the mess. If you have the money power, you can get away with almost anything including multiple murders. This is a sorry state of the Indian justice delivery system now. The system fails to deliver justice, and the result of that is people take law into their own hands and punish each other. There is a tacit acceptance to this action in society. This will lead to uncivilized society. The case of Rupam Pathak is a classic case of it. There was a FIR filed against the local MLA by Rupam sometime back over sexual allegations. It appears, the case made no head-way forward. Preliminary reports indicate Rupam pathak was frustrated with no action being taken against the MLA and decided to stab the MLA herself as an act of revenge. In my opinion, violence cannot be a part of life. No one violent has a place amidst the society. They must be arrested and isolated from society. The trial may bring the truth out, and we will discuss then who is right and who is wrong. But the frustration with regular legal process is very active in minds of people who wait for justice in the Indian courts. This cannot be denied.
There are a tonne of legal disputes in Indian courts today, that will take generations to solve. what is the expectation for the person who is dependant on those verdicts. When a trial happens over long periods of time, people change stands, witness become hostile, the evidence no longer is fresh, people involved in trial lose motivation. Just dragging a case for years and years is judicial cheating. The whole justice system is flawed in the process when it does that. Land disputes and property disputes, needs to be solved as soon as possible, so that people can get on with life. So that they can make an investment on them, and bring in employment and create wealth. We have people going to the court with the intention of just to extend the problem for long. The ordinary people feel left out. The dishonest segment of the population benefit from the process. The lawyers and judges make money in this flawed process. In spite of huge backlogs of work, the judges go for summer vacations, just like school students, often leading to inefficient man-hours of operation. People launder in jails for years, because the judge hasn't had time to "get to the case". Murder cases that have solid evidence on the initial period lose steam over time, and the witness turn hostile, because often they are subjected to pressure. The Shankaraman murder case in Kancheepuram in which the Kanchi mutt was accused of being involved is an example. Almost all the witness have turned hostile and the proceedings have gone no where. The Judicial system neither helps the innocent or witness, but plays as a good tool for persons who are aggressively dishonest, and exploit the sytem to their advantage.
When the legal system doesn't delivery just like it is happening in India right now., it always leads to social unrest and revolution. It is high time the central government recognize this problem and enact laws and overhaul the system. The following are items that the people need in that.
1. Find resources to clear backlog of cases all over India. Ensure speedy disposal.
2. Atleast new legal cases, needs speedy verdicts., say vital cases like murder, rape, financial frauds are attended to and verdict executed in 4 years.
3. Protect witnesses.
4. Punishment, if found guilty.
5. Hold Judges accountable and punishable, if found involved in mal-practices.
6. Simplify the justice delivery system, and make it RELEVANT in society.
The whole appeal process is ridiculous. This has to be simplified and needs a time sensitive requirement in it. Punishment MUST be delievered if found guilty for all. Rich or poor, younger or older, man or woman, if found guilty in the eyes of the law, punishment must be executed without delays. Every court case should lead to a "logical" conclusion. Only strict punishments are going to help refine society. There are multiple clemency petition pending in the table of the President and Prime Minister. They must be attended to, and punishments enforced now. Only this will invoke confidence in people to go to courts seeking Justice.
The other face of the same problem is the multiple commissions that the government set-up after every tragedy. Those commissions take years to reach a conclusion and often go no where. At the end of the process, the people realize from the report that its just a FYI on what happened, but isn't serious about providing punishment to guilty. Indian politicians take honor in being named for bad reasons in those commissions. Any commission that runs for more than a year, is a complete waste of tax payer's money. Take the famed example of Bhopal Gas tragedy investigation/verdicts. It was a tragedy where thousands of people suffocated to death, and probably died thinking the world was coming to an end. The Indian court took the case, and delivered a verdict, a piece-meal compensation after almost 25 years of the tragedy. The case really deserves more attention than that. An the end of the day, the verdict sounded like a automobile accident case in some highway in India. What was the court doing with this case for decades? 25 years is really long time in anybody's watch except for the clocks in Indian courts. what many things happened in this 25 years, We had multiple governments, Olympics, football/cricket world cups, regime changes all over the world, wars, etc.... and the court was sitting on this investigation during that time. A delayed verdict like that is an insult to the people of India who have lived through those tragedy in the cold December of 1984. What is the intention of the verdict? It was just reduced to a formality. It is humanly unjust to treat it like that. What explanation does the court have for the thousands of people, who are living now but are physically impaired because of the gas leak. Somebody must be pinned responsible for it., don't you think. Not everything happened by itself. If the incident had happened in rich western countries, things would have been much different.
India has a lot to learn from other western countries, how the rule of law is enforced, maintained and safe-guarded. We have to admit, things are far better in advanced countries. The Indian society is a tolerant, obedient society by history. The family values are still very much intact. In spite of the vast diversity, there is a feeling of nationalism, patriotism, respect and moral values. So it is just a matter of enforcing law and winning back the confidence of the people.
For most of Independant india, the Congress government has ruled the country. So the Congress party is responsible for this judicial mess, relatively. It must have been fixed long before as it has become monster today. The people will wake up and we will have a law-less society in the near future, if the govenment does not act now. Manmohan Singh is credited with bringing back India to global stage economically in the 90s as the finance minister. Can he deliver again this time by refining the Indian Judiciary as a Prime Minister.