Ensuring Expeditious and
Timely Justice to All
FAST TRACKING JUSTICE FOR POOR LITIGANTS
Team Members – Arjun Bhagi,Abhilaksh Gaind, Ishan Kashyap, Pranav
Bansal and Jay Sayta
Institution – TheW.B. National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata
Degree Pursuing – B.A., LL.B. (Hons.) [4th Year/7th Semester]
Team co-ordinator – Arjun Bhagi
Contact details – email@example.com, +91-9674797257
Identification of the Problem and
Structure of our Presentation
“Justice delayed is Justice denied”. Unfortunately, Justice is not just ‘delayed’
in our country, we believe that it is ‘derailed’.
The Principle of Open Justice - The very essence of justice is that it
must provide actual relief to the aggrieved:, this is the bedrock of any
judicial system. In words of Lord Hewart from Rex v Sussex Justices; Ex
parte McCarthy “justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and
undoubtedly be seen to be done”.
In this presentation, we identify 7 problems that are stumbling blocks in our
judicial system and present 7 solutions to these problems.
Our solutions aim to bring institutional changes, rather than focusing on
amendments into existing laws (which are equally good mechanisms).
The solutions presented in this paper are designed keeping in mind solely
the interests of the lower starata of the society, who are the worst
sufferers of a slow judicial system.
Our basic presumption is that the value and quality of justice should not be
diluted or compromised with in the name of fighting a clogged justice
1. Faultily and Poorly Implemented
Issue - Alternate Dispute Resolutions (ADR) mechanisms are designed to
settle disputes outside Courts. India has smart ADR legislations like
Arbitration & Conciliation Act, Legal Services Authorities Act and Section
89 of Civil Procedure Code. The fundamental problem is that Courts in
India are either not applying ADR mechanisms or applying them
imperfectly, thereby destroying the idea behind ADR.
The Supreme Court has clarified in Afcons Infrastructure case that all civil
courts are mandated to offer parties the path of ADR under Section 89
of Civil Procedure Code. Courts must explain to parties the benefits of
taking up ADR mechanisms before proceeding with trial. This ensures
more and more cases being disposed at the time of admission.
In many cases, ADR orders sent to Courts for validation are re-opened.
This results in a re-trial and renders the ADR process redundant. Courts
must desist from looking into merits of ADR orders.
2. Mismanagement of Court Papers
Issue – It is a daily observation for any lawyer that chaos is added in a
courtroom by the excessive amounts of paperwork.
India is slowly moving to an ‘e-Courts’ system by establishing a national
database. But this is a time taking process and will not necessarily cover
taluka courts. In the meanwhile, Ministry of Law and Justice must
financially empower the Courts in the lower rung so that they can
digitize their documents for everyday functioning.
Court managers must be appointed in every courtroom. These are
trained MBA professionals who specialize in cases management, case
allocation, overseeing court proceedings and human resource
management.They make the judicial authorities more effective.
The onus of proof in cases of loss of case documents must be that on
the Court Registrar. This will enhance accountability and transperancy,
thereby preventing successive re-filings of the same document which
otherwise add to the burden of Courts.
3. Deficient pro bono Practice
Issue – BCI Rules make pro bono work by an advocate for benefit of poor
litigants only a moral obligation. This often results in poor litigants giving
up on their cases in middle because they can no more pay for their
lawyers’ fees, resulting in ever increasing backlog of cases.
We believe that ethics and morals are no incentive for lawyers to do pro
bono. Coercion is the only plausible option.
Akin to medical students, every law student in the country must be
obligated to serve the lower strata of society pro bono as a pre-condition
for obtaining his law degree. Though drastic, this step would mean an
average of 1,50,000 lawyers (75,000 per year) at the disposal of poor
litigants. These newly qualified students must be attached to Government
Pleaders, so that they are constantly mentored and their inexperience
does not hamper a litigant’s chances of getting justice. This is indirectly a
golden chance of inducting better talent into court practices, which
otherwise invariably drifts to the corporate sector.
4.Agitation by Lawyers
Issue – We are witnessing instances of lawyer agitation almost every other
day. This is hampering normal court proceedings, thereby slowing down
the pace of justice delivery.
We understand that lawyers have their right to protest against
unreasonable actions of other authorities. But we are of the firm belief
that this right is subject to Court’s proper functioning.
We urge amendments into BCI Rules which will permit lawyers’
demonstrations only on weekends, court holidays and evenings.
The local bar council members must be made accountable for any strike
by lawyers, irrespective of it being supported or not by the concerned
bar council. These members must be immediately arrested.
Young advocates, who do not have much work in courts, are persuaded
by Unions to stage protests on trivial issues. Senior Counsels must take
upon themselves to hire more and more young advocates as their
juniors, so that they do not become part of such unproductive activities.
5. FillingVacancies for Courts and
Issue – One of the important reasons for case backlogs is the deficiency of
judicial officers manning the courtrooms.
Direct recruitment from reputed national law schools must be
conducted for filling vacant posts of judges on ad hoc basis. This is a
temporary solution, in light of the fact that it takes 2 years for state
public commissions to select judges for lower judiciary. In that period,
these direct recruits may be subjected to sternous training and attached
to District Judges. A second round of internal selection may be
conducted later on to make them permanent.
Though specialized tribunals do not cater to the lower strata, they must
be manned on priority basis. In situations of such tribunals being
improperly manned, the concerned litigants approach appellate courts
like High Courts and Supreem Court. Such proceedings then eat into the
time alloted to regular cases filed by poor people in these appellate
courts. Judicial appointments in theseTribunals must be made a priority.
6. Special Benches to Deal with
Matters Filed by BPL Plaintiffs
Issue – Why should cases affecting poor people be clubbed with other
We suggest that Courts at District, State and National level must
designate special benches for dealing with cases filed by BPL (Below
Poverty Line) plaintiffs. This mechanism invariably creates an environment
wherein the judges are sensitive to the conditions of the plaintiff and
their verdicts have an enhanced flavour of equity.
This special bench must be given extraordinary powers to direct
investigative authorities to take a more focused approach towards these
BPL plaintiffs, allocate special funds to cater to the transportation and
accomodation needs of these BPL litigants who come from far off places
and allocate pro bono cases to senior advocates when such special need
Creating a dedicated bench for BPL litigants will also prevent sidetracking
of their cases on account of non-availability of lawyers, funds, red tapism,
7. Corporate Social Responsibility
Issue - Functioning of Courts in India is purely dependent on the funds
provided by the Executive. This results in red tapism and slow diversion
of funds, thereby hampering efficiency of normal day to day court
We propose that Corporate players be roped in to pump in a minimal
percentage of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds [as
proposed by the Companies Act, 2013] into justice delivery system. This
amount, to be calculated by the Ministry of Law and Justice, must be
credited directly in the bank accounts maintained by the Supreme Court
of India, which shall disburse the sum accordingly to lower courts.
Concentration of funds must be greater for lower courts located in
north-eastern states and other backward regions, SC/ST Courts and
India is marred by a corrupt government that has
made a joke out of its subjects: the Courts have
been the only ray of hope for millions of poor
Indians in these tough times. These turbulent
times call for a more robust judicial system, and
the suggestions proposed by us are only a few
steps in the long journey towards establishing an
efficient, responsive, resilient and sensitive Indian
judicial system which delivers cost-effective and
timely justice to all.
JAI HIND !
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