JUDICIAL REFORMS

The dire shortage of judges in India places a heavy caseload on the judiciary. Moreover, cases are registered at a much faster pace than they are disposed of, creating a backlog. As a result, there is an enormous pendency of cases in courts at all levels, with the situation particularly grave in subordinate courts. Procedural complexities, excessive delays, use of English language etc. drive up the cost of litigation and act as barriers to justice for many of the poor and illiterate. Highly competent and successful lawyers are rarely willing to give up their lucrative practice and become judges. As a result, the quality of subordinate judges is limited. Local Courts with summary procedures can provide speedy relief and justice in many simple civil and criminal cases, including cases of ill-treatment of women, at a low cost in rural and urban areas, but currently, they are not being harnessed to their full potential. Furthermore, we do not have a law ensuring judicial standards and accountability of higher judiciary. The Constitutional Courts are loaded with frivolous appeals and their role and standard in deciding upon important constitutional matters is faltering. These challenges have eroded public faith in the justice system, leaving many to suffer silently and creating a private industry administering rough and ready justice.