Why is Justice not considered Essential in India
Author: Tushar Jha
Designation: First yr law Student, Calcutta University
Hey Folks, Many of you have imagined after reading the title that this article is going to discuss the drawbacks of the Indian judicial system, the pending cases, the plight of clients whose cases drag on for years, etc. However, this article doesn't discuss any of these topics while these are also the issues that need to be resolved for more expeditious and swift delivery of justice, But in this article we are going to discuss denial of justice from a different perspective, not by the limitations of our judicial system, but by the government in the wake of the pandemic situation. Due to the Covid cases and the national wide lockdown, many people lost their livelihood and had to depend on the policies of the government even for the two course meals, we are well aware of the situation of migrant workers and labourers. The justice delivery system has almost the same situation or even worse. Now many of you would say this comparison is absurd since everyone knows that the courts hold hearings online time to time There are certainly hearings taking place online in the high court's and supreme court's, but you aren't talking about the district courts at all. District courts, the advocates who practice in them, and the people whose cases are pending in these courts are having a very difficult time. This is because in our country, justice is always regarded as secondary and non-essential. As of the time when I am writing this article, most of the curbs are lifted in most of the states. However, since the arrival of Covid 19 in India, the courts, especially district courts, are no longer able to function in the way they used to. As a law student and the son of a practicing lawyer in district court, I know the severity of the situation and am very disgusted at how the government is taking the justice system as granted . The thing I don't understand is why justice isn't considered essential in our country and advocacy isn't considered an essential service.
I just wanted to let the readers of the article to know that there are already million cases pending at different levels of our Indian judicial system and When you learn about the people whose cases are pending and their stories, you will definitely change your perspective that justice is not as important as food or shelter in these tumultuous times. As a son the practicing advocate I get the meet some of these people and can understand their pain yes I will not deny the fact that our judicial system is slow and they are suffering from this but they are fighting that case because they have believe that ultimately they will get justice as we say "The justice will prevail" but when the courts' are shut or opened but with a very low capacity how are we planning to address the grievances of the parties of almost 44 million pending cases. The answer is no, we cannot as these figures are from pre covid era when we are working with full capacity and now we have limitations because justice is not essential according to government.
I would like now to introduce you to the work being done in district courts after the Corona virus outbreak. When the Corona virus arrived and the lockdown took place, the District Courts were also shut down and for the first 1-2 months courts and staffs were on complete vacation as there was nothing like a district court ever existed but then they woke up from their deep sleep as the directives for online hearings were set up all thanks to supreme court. There are a lack of technological advances required to hold online hearings as in district court, neither judges nor attorneys were prepared to do anything like this, Afterwards Courts and the judiciary are provided with technology by the government but in a very limited manner and resources are very little. Despite all this challenges let's say they have minimal technology to conduct these hearing. Still, you can easily understand how often judges or sub judges attend these online hearings who rarely go to court even when the system was fully functional. Most of the hearing are not held and next date is granted but if they do then thanks to the technical glitches and network problems as the resources were limited. What I just said is the plight of the district court in my city but as you are aware of the system you can easily understand that the plight of other districts can be no different and these things are just an oversight of the problems faced in the district court after the pandemic the actual problems are much more devastating. There of over 1.5 million advocates in India who practice in these district courts and their bread and butter depends on these courts after the pandemic their situation has become worse many are struggling to get two course meals and many have even switched profession.
One essential question from the government that, why is justice considered non essential if 44 million cases are pending and livelihood of millions of people depends on it. I even want to suggest that high court and supreme court are no doubt the most important part of our legal system but they do represent the actual situation from the grassroots’ level and the reality of district courts. The time has come when the policymakers and the those with power must observe the situation from the grassroots’ level as any modifications from the bases of the Indian legal system would be a revolution in the whole Indian judicial system and will be remembered as an achievement .