When will we have a better justice system?
What has happened to the plans of the Indian government to set up an All-India Judicial service (IJS?) on the lines of the IAS?(Indian Administrative Service) A Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice had recommended this but I have not heard of any progress being made on this issue. At least it has not been highlighted in the media. Here is a quote from a six month old editorial:
“If an all-India judicial service is created and judges are recruited directly on the pattern of the Civil Services examination by an independent and constitutional body like the Union Public Service Commission, our courts will attract more competent people to take over as judges.”
That our judicial system needs overhauling is not in doubt. Ofcourse there are some who actually believe that it is not our judges who are to blame…it is the shortage of judges which are to blame! True, the number of judges (per million population) here are the lowest when compared to more advanced countries. For example:
41.6 in Australia
75.2 in Canada
50.9 in England
107.0 in the USA
And India – 10.5
But as B.R. Lall (senior CBI official) explains in The Tribune, these statistics are terribly misleading. He writes:
“If we delve a little deeper into the statistics, the analysis does not support this superficial view. Serious crime per million of population is 81210 in Canada, 60970 in France, 17728 in Japan and 42668 in the USA as compared to 1790 in India. Even the total crime in India is only 6710 as against 302670 per million people in the USA. Similar is the trend of civil cases. ”
The truth is that India cannot be considered a fair and just society until the courts get their act together. How can we expect to be a global economony and expect foreign companies and their executives to come here if we cannot provide protection from criminal elements? I know that in some cases where foreign tourists (German girl’s rape by Bitti Mohanty) have been targeted, the courts have suceeded in ensuring speedy justice (Bitti was convicted although now he has jumped bail) but this doesn’t make much sense to me. Why should speedy justice be provided only in isolated cases? Justice has to be for one and all. And justice delayed is justice denied, specially in India. Here, when cases take decades to resolve, the guilty (who get bail) get sufficient time to buy witnesses and rig the case.
Only a Indian Judicial Service will ensure that only the best talent in the country become judges. In the meantime the present system needs to change. It is well-known that frequent adjournments and stays is one of the major reasons why cases get post-poned. Also, a fair number of judges posts are vacant.
I see a future where India puts in place a systematic, centralised examination which will recruit the brightest youngsters pouring out of law colleges for the job of a judge. That I think is our only hope.