India: a country of peace and harmony, where unity in diversity is the soul of its existence, a country which considers Dharma (Rule of Law) as one of its core principles. One can see the existence of Panchayat (Panch Parmeshwar) and Gana Parishad in ancient India and “Satyameva Jayate” (Truth alone triumphs) in ancient Indian scripture “Mundaka Upanishad” which is now adopted as the national motto of India, how important the justice was considered in ancient Indian society. These examples and various others have empowered our constitution makers who envisage of an India where justice will be the right of every citizen and the soul of its constitution. But, it is pitiable that today our country has hundreds of thousands of its citizens whom justice is delayed and therefore denied for about a decade.
One of the biggest challenges of our country’s judiciary is clearing the backlog of cases in various courts of the country; India has the highest number of pending cases in the world. There are more than 2.18 crore cases pending in district courts across the country. 12 of the 29 states have more than 5 lakh cases in pending while on an average a little more than one case is still in a row for at least 10 years for their conclusion. 20 lakh of the cases are which counts for about 20 percent were filed by women while 3 percent are being fought by senior citizens of the country. What kind of development do we want without justice?
This issue came to light over the debate launched by former chief justice of India, T S Thakur’s passionate appeal to the government regarding shortfall of judges and dearth of infrastructure, the Supreme Court’s E-committee has released the latest statistics on pending cases in district courts. The data, as of 30 April, underlines the egregious issue of the huge number of undecided cases across the country. It is a pity that government has failed to take this issue seriously so far, it is deeply saddening that about 22.5 lakh cases have been in pending in the last 10 years which counts for just 10.3 percent of the total.
We need to ask some questions to our government; why is this happening in the country where we religiously follow “Satyameva Jayate” as the guiding principle of its judiciary? Where has government’s concern for justice gone? Is the government just insensitive towards this condition of the judiciary? The government is so busy in its agenda of intangible development and unworthy goodwill that is has forgotten to ensure its citizen the very fundamental rights which our constitution guarantees its every citizen.
Which kind of development a senior citizen would want if he is running to court every week for past 10 years. What kind of facility a woman would like if she has got no justice fighting for her rights and still denied. Is our government really concerned about individual’s liberty and rights or is just concerned about hollow international prestige. Who would like to see India which has highest numbers of yoga centers if it has not enough number of courts where cases can be resolved and justice can be ensured to all its citizens?
Even if my country has the best satellite system in the world I would rather feel ashamed if my country doesn’t have a strong and independent judiciary. If we analyze closely, more than one-fourth of pending cases are pending for more than 5 years and one-third of pending cases have been pending for more than 2 years as per the report by E-committee.
The statistics demonstrate a pathetic state of the country’s judiciary and the government’s will to resolve this issue. It is alarming that more than half the number of total pending cases have remained unsettled for at least two years. It is also of huge concern that criminal cases, which can threaten people’s security and individual’s liberty, is almost double in number in comparison to the civil cases among total cases.
The data has given a realistic picture of the pitiable picture of various states where 12 states have more than 5 lakh cases in continuance, of which 7 states have more than 10 lakh pending cases. In Uttar Pradesh alone over 6.5 lakh cases are unsettled which is around one-third of the total oldest cases in the country and it’s been more than a decade they are still unresolved.
The report issued by E-committee also cited various data separately for cases filed by women and senior citizens which are unsettled so far. The portions for women ad senior citizen’s unsettled cases are 9.6 and 3.19 per cent respectively. UP, Bihar, and Maharashtra are the three major states with the maximum number of unsettled cases being carried over for several years by women and senior citizens.
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