Law

The Indian judicial system – Is it really “transparent” and “corruption-free”?

One of the senior advocates believes that “Judiciary’s reputation is in danger”. The case of TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam) executive officer, Mr. L.V. Subrahmanyam indicates that authorities need judges according to their own vested interests and not for public interest.

Today, when allegations of red-tapism are leveled regarding appointments, judiciary itself has gone into real crisis. On one hand, issues pertaining to salaries are raised while on the other hand, Chief Justice Mr. R.M. Lodha’s recommendation for 365 days working in courts in it-self is a matter of conflict.

Justice delayed is justice denied. Judicial verdict come in hands only after generations gyrate in courts seeking justice. Corruption and delay in proceedings dilute the justice.

Before 1973, ruling parties always attempted to appoint their near and dear ones in judiciary. In 1993 the Hon’ble Supreme Court delegated powers of ministries to collegiums, but the effort appears to be futile.

As of today, judiciary does not even have any proper and transparent system regarding disposal of complaints. There is no proper mechanism regarding filing of complaint against judges, as it is considered as “contempt of court”.

To improve the condition, it is suggested to make a Judicial Appointments Commission, which has not come into existence as yet. The bill in this regard has been lapsed at the end of 15th Lok Sabha. Unfortunately, neither the government, nor the judiciary has ever made any efforts to correct the situation, as the ruling party always wishes to select their own people in judiciary to get favor from them all the times. Therefore, it is a dream for an ordinary person to get an impartial, accurate and transparent judicial system.

Additionally, senior advocate and parliamentarian Mr. Ram Jethmalani has also recommended an overhaul in judiciary by improving collegiums system and constituting Judicial Appointments Commission.

Former Chief justice Mr. Rajinder Sachar has also given recommendation to improve the collegiums system, though loop-holes cannot be recovered, despite the fact that the “supremacy” of the Supreme Court must be maintained as in the cases of England. Selection of judges shall be done by the top academicians, executives and the external people, as in the cases of countries like America, England, Australia, and South Africa.

Contrary to this, former Chief Justice Mr. Shiv Kumar Sharma has suspected the transparency of the proposed commission, where political interference is highly expected.

Justice Soumitra Sen, Justice P.D. Dinkaran, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice Nirmal Yadav are a few names, who remained in limelight for collecting money (corruption),thereby affecting their decisions. Of the aforesaid, the former two judges have already resigned, whereas the latter two cases are still pending.

According to Mr. Biri Singh Sinsinwar, chairman of the Bar Council of India (BCI), clients wish those lawyers, who, by hook or crook, can prosecute their cases and win; bar unanimously brought to the notice the cases of corruption against Justice Arun Madan and former judge Ajay Sharda recently.

There are 4,655 vacancies in the courts throughout the country, of which 270 vacancies remain in the high courts. Overall, 31,365,409 cases (on different matters) are lying pending in several courts of the country. Supreme Court has 63,843 cases whereas the high courts have 4,462,705 cases sub-judice.

According to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2013, 45% public is dissatisfied with the judiciary’s decisions that are led by corruption and 36% people had to bribe to get favors despite their innocence.

Now, without beating about the bush, I recall the case of a saint, Sant Asharamji Bapu, who is ensnared in a frivolous sexual assault case. As per ‘The Times of India’, in the first eight months of 2013 (for which exact figures are available) the acquittal rate in rape cases was 75% !  Another article in the Indian Express shows how the new ‘stringent’ Rape laws are open to misuse !   Now what can be expected in this case, where corruption can not be ruled out. It seems that in the name of “law and order” and for sake of evidence, the case is being twisted day by day?

Are we people so hard-core that we cannot raise our voice unanimously to defend an innocent, venerable saint?

Though we know that Bapuji has been maintaining the dignity of the judicial system, yet we demand from our judicial system (which can give parole/bail to high profile actors/Journalists , but seems hardly sensible and quite biased in case of Sant Asharam Bapuji); be corruption-free.

Let’s wait and watch whether judiciary maintains its dignity or favors culprits in disguise.

The Author is a Practicing Law Professional.

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