It is a matter of academic discussion as to who really controls the process of Justice, whether the courts or the governments. As far as the criminal cases are concerned, all the investigations are done by the police or some government agency which reports to the government. Prosecutors are appointed by the government also. Courts are concerned with the trial. Thus two important aspects which constitute justice – Investigation and prosecution – are totally in the hands of Government.
The Government also provides funds for the smooth functioning of the courts. By regulating the flow of funds, the Government controls the capacities of courts directly. Better equipped courts with better and sufficient staff can deliver justice faster and more efficiently. Justice being a concurrent subject, both the Central and State governments are responsible for providing funds. Thus, the government indirectly controls even the process of trial through its control on funding.
The Central allocation of the tenth five year plan (2002-2007) for justice was a mere Rs.700 Crore. Compare it with the government’s decision of spending Rs.727 crore on the purchase of five aircrafts for the use of VIPs. Setting up of fast track courts, family courts, consumer courts, special courts for ST/ST cases, has speed up the procedure of justice. As such it has been the decision of the government; it can sure speed up delivery of justice if it decides to focus on it.
No doubt the courts are duty bound to provide fair and expeditious justice, there are bottlenecks. The increasing workload of the courts raises the matter of writing and publishing of judicial proceedings, decision and orders. The existing practice of writing and reporting judicial proceedings, decisions and orders needs to be reviewed carefully in order to enhance the efficiency of the courts.
Government Initiative to Expedite Pending Cases
Although the issue of pending cases and case disposal falls strictly under the purview of the Supreme Court, the union government has set up a “National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms” to facilitate expeditious disposal of cases by harnessing Information Communication Technology (ICT). In order to computerize the justice delivery system, the government is implementing e-Courts Project for the district and subordinate courts and up-gradation of ICT infrastructure in superior courts at an estimated cost of Rs 935 crore.
A pendency reduction drive was launched (during July-December 2011) by the department of justice. It is targeting to computerize 12,000 courts by March 31, 2012 and 14,249 courts by March 2014. 39.23 cases have been transferred to fast track courts which have already disposed off 33 lakh cases.
Since January 2009, about 284 posts in different categories have been created or revived. Moreover, a committee of three senior officers was constituted to study the working of the Registry of the Supreme Court.
Other ways to reduce pendency are by increasing the periods for which judges sit, cutting down the number of court holidays, allowing morning and evening shifts in courts, encouraging the use of Gram Nyayalayas and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
Summary: Although courts delivery justice but currently they are facing severely constrained by inadequate infrastructure and poor facilities. Lack of speedy justice is the prime reason why businesses often get hampered and the common sees the courts as alien lands with foreign work culture. Hope IT and communication technology will provide some relief. The only reason why the judiciary is neglected by the government is that a dysfunctional judiciary is good for it.