“No Government wants Strong Judiciary”…………………..Don’t Blame Judiciary for…

Article for Blog Post Writing Competition 2011 | by Aniket Pandey


April 19th, 20112:02 pm


The governments are under an obligation to provide an adequate machinery for justice, to appoint more judges and to give them better emoluments and facilities, to build more court houses, to enact better laws, to devise better dispute resolution procedures, and to administer more effectively and equitably, rather than to blame lawyers and judges for the increase and proliferation of litigation.

-Former Chief Justice of India, R C Lahoti

We must realize that the reason why Judiciary in India is respected is because of the confidence which it has, over the years, come to enjoy amongst masses for unbiased, impartial discharge of its constitutional functions without fear or favour, or enmity or affection. The strength of Indian Judiciary lies in its impartiality, its integrity and its independence. However, it lies in the perception that Judges are free from every form of prejudice and that in discharging their duties. The very confidence of the people of India in the confidence and impartiality of the judiciary which constitutes the moral foundation upon the judiciary which neither has finances nor the physical facilities to ensure compliance and effective implementation of its orders. In a democratic form of government, judiciary occupies a special position. While the bureaucracy is also a permanent set-up, it is under the direct control of the politicians. Judiciary is given a special position, though its budget is ultimately in the hands of politicians. Though the constitution mandates a few items including the expenditure on salaries, allowances and pensions of judges of the Supreme Court, the functioning of the judiciary is still largely dependent on the  of the politicians, whose partiality because of their party interests and selfishness is a matter of common knowledge. Independent judiciary is not a pleasant thing for the politicians. As sometimes, they want their political opponents to be punished for their criminal acts, they have got to tolerate the judiciary as a necessary evil. The reluctance of the politicians to promote courageous, honest and efficient judiciary in the country is borne out from the fact that the allocation for judiciary in the 10th Five-Year Plan (2002-07), was only Rs 700 crore, i.e. 0.07% of the total Plan outlay. The budgetary allocation for judiciary in most of the states is less than 1% towards judiciary. The Supreme Court-approved salary hike for judicial officers has not been implemented.

Recently when the Supreme Court pronounced that in the Amar Singh phone tapping case only one witness has been examined in the last four years, because of repeated adjournments, the Bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly observed with anguish: “This case should have been over in three months. Adjournments have become a cancer to the institutions… The system has already become sick. What can be the expectation of the common man for speedy justice? Even in Supreme Court, a special leave petition takes eight years to reach final hearing… We all give sermons. We go to National Judicial Academy and give lectures to judicial officers asking them to speed up disposal of cases. But where is the infrastructure? They are already under heavy burden. There are only lectures, committees and commissions, but no solutions.”
On February 22, 2011 (Friday) the Supreme Court held that the meager budgetary provisions by the Centre and states impeded setting up of additional courts and infrastructure needed to speed up the justice delivery system. In this connection the Supreme Court observed:[1]

“No government wants strong judiciary”. It is only on the paper. Look at the budgetary allocation. It is less than one %,” the bench remarked while pointing out that the judiciary is overloaded and a large number of courts need to be set up across the country for speedy justice delivery.[2]

Pointing out the infrastructural problem and growing vacancies in the judiciary, the court said “it is a very difficult situation. If by chance the government does it (setting up more courts), then we have difficulty in getting competent people.”

Dispensation of justice is also impeded by not filling the posts of Judges in High Courts. [3] For example: the sanctioned strength of Allahabad High Court is 100. There are 10 lakh of cases pending here. It has been functioning for long with just 45 judges. The High Courts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Patna, Calcutta, Bombay, Karnataka and Jharkand also deserve special mention in having the posts of judges vacant for long. Out of a total pendency of 41.83 lakh cases pending in the 21 High Courts of this country, these ten High Courts account for 68%. The number of vacancies in the trial courts is also alarming. Out of 17090 judicial officers having a pendency of 2.78 crore of cases, 3070 posts are vacant.

Recently speaking at the 17th Commonwealth Law Conference in Hyderabad, Mr Singh said, “Our judges, while interpreting laws, have also widened their scope and reach as lawgivers. The judicial process has a dynamic role to play both as the guarantor of justice to litigants and as upholder of the constitutional conscience. But at the same time, it has to be ensured that the basic structure of our Constitution is not subordinated to political impulses of the moment or to the will of transient majorities.” Underlining the need for the judiciary to adapt itself to a fast-changing world to retain its relevance, Mr Singh said the role of courts and judges in making law an instrument of social stability and progressive change cannot be over-emphasized. [4]

The truth is that the Government feels uncomfortable and embarrassed when its partisan decisions are challenged and nullified by the judiciary. Left to itself, the Government of the     day would never have ordered an inquiry into the 2G Spectrum plundering as it was afraid of losing power in the event of withdrawal of support by its coalition partner, the DMK. The   former Minister  for Telecommunication, A Raja, not only ignored the suggestions of Union Minister for Law M. Veerappa Moily and then Minister for Finance P Chidambaram, but also defied the Prime Minister’s instructions. His successor, Mr Kapil Sibal, has trashed the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s report, suggesting that the loss to the exchequer was ‘zero’ and not a presumptive `1.76 lakh crore as indicated by the CAG report. [5]

The judiciary is an important pillar of any democracy. In India, it has performed creditably and stood the test of time in spite of what self-serving politicians might say. But for judicial intervention, many wrongs would never have been set right. Although, it can be said with some surety is that crime cannot be hidden for long. It is but natural that politicians will feel unhappy when pulled up by the judiciary. The judiciary’s job however, is not to please politicians but to uphold the law of the land. Despite rumblings in political parties, it should be remembered that the judiciary has by and large acted creditably. Its decisions are independent of political compulsions. India has adopted a universal democratic pattern under which it is perfectly within the domain of the judiciary to tell other branches of the state what they should be doing, where they have transgressed and what are their limits of power. Instead of finding fault with the judiciary, the Prime Minister and his Government would do well to ensure speedy justice for the commonman.[6]

Conclusion

In an ideal situation, the judiciary will refrain from intruding into the domain of the executive and the legislature and stick to applying and interpreting the law. But when there is cynicism about the seriousness and impartiality of the Government in stemming corruption, maintaining checks and balances as has been mandated by the Constitution becomes imperative. Irrespective of what any politician may say or feel, the judiciary must continue doing its job without being swayed by either pressure or criticism. The politicians in charge of the governmental machinery in India are giving step-motherly treatment to the system of judiciary. The age-old saying, ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’, is deliberately neglected. The judiciary does not get the priority it deserves both in administrative and financial matters. In the interest of democracy, this trend should change. The youth of India have to ensure this.

References

1. http://www.hindustantimes.com/No-government-wants-strong-judiciary-SC/Article1-661241.aspx

2. http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/no-government-wants-a-strong-judiciary-supreme-court/articleshow/7477224.cms

3.The Times of India, Hyderabad, February 18, 2011

4.http://www.hindustantimes.com/No-government-wants-strong-judiciary-SC/Article1-661241.aspx

5. http://www.dailypioneer.com/328933/Judiciary-to-the-rescue.html

6. Ibid

 

Article by-

Aniket Pandey

Student, BBA(LLB) Corporate laws

University of Petroleum and Energy Studies, Dehradun

[Submitted as an entry for the MightyLaws.in Blog Post Writing Competition, 2011]

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