The Indian judicial system is complex, consisting of a hierarchy of courts with different levels of authority and jurisdiction. The Supreme Court is the highest court of appeal, followed by the High Courts, District Courts, and other lower courts. The judicial system is primarily based on the adversarial system, where two opposing parties present their case to a judge or a panel of judges who decide on the outcome of the case.
The judicial system interprets and enforces the country’s laws and resolves disputes between parties.
The judiciary plays a crucial role in safeguarding the Fundamental Rights of the citizens, including the right to life and liberty, equality before the law, and freedom of speech and expression. It also checks the other branches of the government, ensuring that they do not exceed their powers or violate the Constitution.
However, the Indian judicial system also faces several challenges, including delays in the disposal of cases, high pendency rates, inadequate infrastructure and resources, corruption, and bias. These flaws pose a significant challenge to the effectiveness and efficiency of the Indian judicial system.
In this article, you will read about the flaws or defects of the Indian judicial system.
Flaws in the Indian Judicial System
The Indian Judicial system has the following flaws or defects:
1. Lengthy Court Proceedings
The time courts take to resolve cases in India is one of the significant challenges faced by the Indian judicial system. The average time taken by Indian courts to decide cases is much longer than in many other countries. It usually takes around 3 to 15 years, with some cases taking longer to dispose of.
Several factors, such as a shortage of judges, inadequate infrastructure and resources, outdated procedures, and legal technicalities, cause delays in the disposal of cases.
2. Lack of Adequate Infrastructure and Resources
The lack of proper infrastructure and resources is the second significant challenge faced by the Indian judicial system. The Indian courts face a shortage of judges, courts, and support staff, which severely impacts the efficiency and effectiveness of the judicial system.
The physical infrastructure of many courts is inadequate and outdated, with poor facilities and technology. Many court buildings lack basic amenities like clean drinking water, sanitation facilities, and proper ventilation, which is detrimental to the health and well-being of court users.
3. High Pendency Rate or Backlog of Cases
The pendency rate or backlog of cases refers to the number of cases pending in the courts and not disposed of within a reasonable timeframe.
There is a shortage of courtrooms and support staff, leading to a backlog of cases and delays in justice delivery.
The backlog of cases leads to longer waiting duration, delays in justice delivery, and loss of faith in the justice system. It also affects the efficiency and effectiveness of the judicial system, making it challenging to prioritise urgent matters and deliver timely justice.
The backlog of cases also significantly impacts the litigants, who have to bear the legal expenses for an extended period.
4. Corruption and Biases
Corruption refers to the misuse of power, while bias refers to unfair or partial treatment. While most judges and court officials in India are honest and work diligently, there have been instances of corruption and biases in the judicial system for personal gain. Corruption and biases in the judicial system in India lead to the manipulation of evidence and unfair judgements.
5. Inadequate Access to Legal Services
Many individuals, particularly those from marginalised communities, have limited access to legal services. And it leads to a lack of representation.
One of the primary reasons for inadequate access to legal services is the shortage of legal aid providers. Legal aid services are available in urban areas, but individuals living in rural or remote areas often face significant challenges in accessing legal assistance.
Another reason for inadequate access to legal services is the high cost of legal fees (and huge advocate fees). Many individuals cannot afford to pay for legal services, making it challenging to access justice.
Moreover, the complexity of legal procedures and the lack of legal literacy among the general population also contribute to inadequate access to legal services.
6. Overworked and Underfunded Courts
The Indian judicial system has more work and fewer funds. Consequently, the judicial system in India faces high costs, lack of technologies, inadequate legal representation and alike.
The Indian judicial system faces several flaws that affect its functioning and ability to deliver justice to the people. Addressing these flaws will require a joint effort from all stakeholders, including the judiciary, government, and citizens.
The Indian government is making efforts to address the issues faced by the judicial system, including the appointment of more judges, modernisation of the judicial system, construction of new courtrooms, introduction of anti-corruption laws, free legal aid services for the economically weaker sections of society, the establishment of legal aid clinics and the introduction of technology-enabled processes such as e-filing and e-courts.
Additionally, the judiciary has taken steps to promote impartiality and fairness, such as setting up special courts to handle cases involving marginalised groups and introducing training programs for judges to sensitise them to issues of bias and discrimination.
However, there is still a long way to go before the Indian judicial system can achieve a reasonable efficiency level in resolving cases promptly. By working together, we can create a more efficient, transparent, and accountable judicial system that provides justice to all individuals, regardless of their background or socio-economic status.
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