STAFF REPORTER Mumbai

After more than 60 years of Indian independence, the judiciary is suffering from two major problems, huge pendency of cases and corruption. Neither problem is new or emerged only after independence.

But the ma

ssive increase in the pendency of cases after independence has now become unmanageable. The Courts are not in a position to bear the entire burden, not without compromising the quality of justice.

Legal experts and jurists often talk about judicial reform to make the justice delivery system more effective and systematise the law and order mechanism operating in the country.

The experts have been talking for the past 60 years.

FPJ spoke to some lawyers who have completed 50 years in the legal field and were recently felicitated by the Bar Council for their contribution to the judiciary.

Advocate Aadhik Shirodkar said that when he had started his people worked without expectations of financial gain. Today money is priority. He said that litigation is increasing enormously but the number of courts has not gone up in proportion. Shirodkar thinks this is because no government wants a strong judiciary.

Speaking about the new trend of judicial activism, Shirodkar said that the criticism against judicial overreach is misconceived. The courts have to intervene when the executive body falls short of its duties, he said.

Advocate Baburao Abhale said that, ” currently the work is dying under its own weight. It was not so when I started practice. Cases dating 25 years back are pending. The system must be reworked.

When I started practising, the judiciary had to cope with limited cases, but now people are rushing to court over small matters. People have lost faith in the other authorities, and they feel that only the legal option is left.” Advocate B Apte said that when he started practice, the judges were treated like gods. Moreover, they were above criticism. There were no allegations of corruption in the judiciary.

The judiciary could solely concentrate on delivering quality of justice.

Apte said that people often abuse the judiciary today, and it is seen as being as corrupt as any other government body.

Advocate Gopal Limaye remembers the jury system which was abolished in 1955. He said that the advocates then were far better than today in respect of legal knowledge, scholarship and, presentation. At present there are some good advocates but the quality of judges in comparison to that time is poor.

Advocate Raghunath Pandurang said, ” Greed for money and personal interest is behind the malpractice in the entire system. When I had started corruption was restricted and political influence was not brought to bear.

In the present moment, there is a strong political and social pressure on the judiciary. Pendency and corruption are fuelling each other.” The Supreme Court has underlined the fundamental right for speedy justice as stated in Article 21 of the Constitution.

Despite that, the speedy administration of justice remains a problem, and justice delayed leads to justice denied.

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