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India needs 10,000 more courts: Supreme Court


With nearly 3 crore cases pending in courts across the country, are more courts, more judges the answer to India’s judicial backlog.

Many innocent victims are behind bars unable to bear the cost of confronting the State in delivery justice.  |  2008 cartoon by By Rex May; source & courtesy - TOONPOOL  |  Click for image.

Many innocent victims are behind bars unable to bear the cost of confronting the State in delivery justice. | 2008 cartoon by By Rex May; source & courtesy – TOONPOOL | Click for image.

To tackle the pendency of nearly 2.5 crore cases, there was an urgent need for an additional 10,000 courts, the CJI said. “But, establishing these courts alone will not give the desired result. To approach these courts for grievance redressal, there has to be awareness, which will come only when there is a rise in the education level among people,” he said.

The CJI does not view the large number of cases in courts, popularly referred to as `docket explosion’, as a major problem before the judiciary. But he feels `docket exclusion’, meaning that needy have no knowledge of how to approach courts, could only be tackled through proper education. (via India needs 10,000 more courts: Supreme Court-India-The Times of India).

More courts may increase litigation

More courts may increase litigation

Your Honour, here is someone who would like to point out three aspects which Your Lordships have not considered.

More courts and faster justice will also create greater case load. At least 50 percent prospective litigants do not approach the courts due to the time and money implications. So, more courts, more judges will create more litigation.

The second thing Your Lordships have missed out is how linguistics politics is keeping out non-English speaking people from the court systems. While there has been some movement towards using Indian languages in courts, the higher courts still use English and all laws are written in English.

Are the Courts and the Government trying to make us a nation of English speaking people?

Thirdly, Your Honour, the courts, overlook the fact that more laws also create more litigation. I am tempted to point an excellent and recent example. Mumbai police decided to use an irrelevant and impractical law to create litigation and case load.

Has there been one successful police state in the history of the world? Why do we hanker for more courts, police |  Cartoon By Rex May; source & courtesy TOONPOOL  |  Click for image.

Has there been one successful police state in the history of the world? Why do we hanker for more courts, police | Cartoon By Rex May; source & courtesy TOONPOOL | Click for image.

They (Mumbai police) decided to raid a birthday party. After the raid, they booked some teen-agers for alcohol consumption – without a permit. As one of the accussed teenager, pointed out, ‘what does the law mean by saying people below 21 cannot drink (without a permit)? So you are wise enough to elect a government, old enough to drive but not fit to make personal lifestyle choices?’ (underlines text, mine). Why does it take a teenager to make such a simple point to our law-makers and courts?

India has the lowest prison population, the lowest police-to-population ratio in the world with the largest number of poor in the world and the second largest gun population in the world – and a crime rate which ranges between low-to-average. This is further interesting, as most of the guns in India, are illegally obtained.

Excess laws are like road space. More roads will create more demand for more cars – and more traffic will soon choke the roads. Like you correctly pointed out, Your Honour, more courts are not the answer.

The answer, My Lord, is in reducing the number of laws itself.

And may I remind your Lordships, that India also has the largest number of the poor in the world – and our judicial system must deliver justice to the poor – first!


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  1. July 22, 2012 at 8:27 am

  2. July 22, 2012 at 1:19 pm

  3. July 22, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    the indian judiciary created by colonisers, is adopted as it is without any change.. which means we havent got freedom till now

    I think this observation flows from a partial view of Indian history.

    One has to remember that after 1857, armed resistance against the British assumed the formed of isolated incidents against the oppressors without a central offensive strategy. Chaphekar Brothers, Bagha Jatin, were among the early practitioners. These actions were a big headache to the British – and a significant reason to transfer the British Raj capital from Kolkatta to Nai Dilli.

    The mantle of organizing opposition against the British fell on Indians who were not from earlier ruling classes – but from a new class. Lawyers trained in British law and jurisprudence. This leadership used British systems and used it against the British. India’s existing polity and society at that time, the princely States, as far as I can see, had few answers.

    The challenges posed by the Desert Bloc this time around will need new strategies – rooted in the principles of Bharattantra.

    There are elements in Indian history that we can use this time around also.

    Like buying gold.

    But there are many tactics that we will need to adopt that have not been used before. Like between 1900-1950, when Indian lawyers trained in British subjects could checkmate the British, we will need to use some Desert Bloc structures temporarily. To deal with problems caused by using Desert Bloc output and products.

    Take the 2G cases before Supreme Court. This kind of an issue is not local that can go before a local judicial authority. We need an appropriate forum – which is the Supreme Court.

    Comparable to the Indian Supreme Court is the Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS). In the last 200 years, the SCOTUS has covered itself with tar many times. Supporting slavery, imposing English on non-English speakers; limited non-White immigration to the US; supporting imprisonment of political dissidents. All this has been covered in previous posts.

    Fortunately, for us, whenever such a challenge has come before the Indian Supreme Court, it has redeemed itself in a glorious manner.

    So, the Indian Supreme Court is not a colonizer’s creation but a creation of post-Independent India. Many times the Executive branch has tried to subvert it, but it has found righted itself at the correct moment.

    what is the mandate that indian courts have ? Are they legitimate?

    The mandate comes, of course, from the Indian Constitution.

    Unlike the US Constitution, our constitution makers and users have kept it very flexible to ensure that it meets the requirements that India has of it.

    I think we miss the historical element.

    You are assuming that India is now free. Forever. And that we will not lose our freedom ever again.

    This is a false assurance.

    Our struggle against the Desert Bloc will probably extend over the next 100 years. The nature of the battle will change – and frequently.

    For instance, after overt and blatant Anglo-French colonialism, we are facing a covert colonialism – Pax Americana.

    Linked to legitimacy is a question – What will be the shape, size and colour of the next Asuric Empire?

    So, legitimacy is something that we will need to define. And this means we must be clear in the nature of the Battle, the form of the Beast that we wish to win over.

    We have a few pointers in our tradition – but there is much we will need to do for the first time.

    Ever.

    In our 5000-10,000 years of history. So, the past is no guide this time around.

  4. July 24, 2012 at 4:21 am

    @anurag,

    I could not agree with you.. the so called freedom fighters, studied british laws, adopted british life style, accepted british created urban system (as opposed to indian way of Nagara), and finally got all the powers that british transferred when they left out..

    You have high opinion for Supreme Court, but i do not share that.. Supreme Court is NOT a thinking entity.. It is just an institution run by judges, who started their career in local / high courts, and then got promoted.. how would you assume that their attitude and thinking would be different?

    Please understand that i am questioning the very fundamentals of Judiciary…

    Does it provide justice or Judgement?

    Hope you would understand the difference b/w both.. Western type of judiciary, in my understanding, provides only Judgement.. ie, they are entitled to only judge whether a particular law is violated or not, OR the fundamental rights as defined by constitution is violated.. Beyond that, they dont have powers to think on their own conscience.. Conscience is totally absent..

    So tomorrow if the legistative assembly passes a new law, the court has to abide by that..

    And you said, the constitution gives the mandate.. my question: “Is the constitution itself legitimate?” Was the people asked, whether they accept the constitution during 1952 ?

    In America, the constitution was put in to public voting many times, and amendments made.. so as in many other countries..

    Secondly, is it right to write a single constitution for a diverse country like india?

    and thirdly, is it dharma to say that you have to abide by the rules set by a group of few people? is it an indian concept?

    Even if i accept your argument that those class of people educated in British Legal Systems became the freedom fighters, then is it not that such legal systems should have perished when british left? For the simple reason, that 99% of our people are NOT comfortable & ignorant of the western judiciary..

    Also the class of people who studied British Laws and became laywers were practicing law for a remunerative life style and NOT for fighting britishers.. Infact, in my opinion they did not fight against britishers, but became representatives of indians in british judicial system..

    Gandhi did not advocated complete swarajya till 1940s.. when the myth of gandhi is broken down this will be understood..

    Compare that to Nethaji Subash Chandra bose, who cleared ICS, but later resigned from it, and then started fighting against british from outside..

  1. February 7, 2009 at 11:23 am

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