The government has recently proposed to set up 1,023 Fast-Track Courts (FTCs). This was with the backdrop of Supreme Court in a suo moto petition, issued directions to set up special courts.
The SC stated that the districts with more than 100 cases pending under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act must set up special courts to deal with these cases.
According to National Judicial Data Grid Statistics, there are about 3 crore cases pending in the SC, HCs and the subordinate courts across the country. Focusing on the FTCs to solve this issue is the need of the hour.
Since its establishment, these special courts have disposed of more than three million cases. However, FTCs is currently decreasing and its potential is not fully realized as it lacks basic infrastructure, technological resources, and manpower.
The Indian judiciary has a host of problems acting as hurdles in the speedy delivery of justice. Pendency of cases is one such problem that has been ailing the judiciary for a long time. In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the problem has increased three-fold. Recently, the Supreme Court of India observed that the pendency of cases “has gone out of control”, and said it will issue guidelines for the appointment of temporary judges to help address the backlog. This is not only the situation during the pandemic rather the backlog of pending cases in India has become a burning problem for a long time which denies the people the right to access timely justice. This impacts not just the administration of justice, but it has tremendous consequences for the economy and the functioning of businesses across India as well.
The administrative tribunals are not a novel creation of India’s political system. Rather, they are well-recognised in the US and various other democratic nations in Europe. The administrative tribunal is vital in the current times as the traditional judicial system is proving to be inadequate to settle all disputes. The traditional judicial system is slow, costly and complex. It is, at present, understaffed and is overloaded with the already existing pending cases. It can’t deal with even important cases like disputes between employers and employees, strikes, etc in a fast-paced manner. These problems can’t be solved through a mere interpretation of the provisions of any statute. A comprehensive and holistic approach are necessary for long-term speedy solutions. This is where the tribunal comes in.
The Collegium system in India also called “Judges- selecting- Judges”, is the system by which the judges are appointed and transferred only by the judges.
The system has evolved by means of the judgments of the Supreme Court, and not by an Act of Parliament or by a Constitutional provision.
The Supreme Court Collegium is headed by the Chief Justice of India and comprises 4 other senior-most judges of the SC.
A High Court collegium is headed by its Chief Justice and 4 other senior-most judges of that court. Names recommended for appointment by a High Court collegium reach the government only after approval by the CJI and the Supreme Court collegium.
The government can return the recommendation for reconsideration by Collegium.
If the collegium reiterates its recommendation then the government is mandated to appoint the respective person.
In recent times there have been intense debates and speculations about increasing judicial interventions into the legislative and executive policies of the government. Being a parliamentary democracy, it is essential to understand the limitations and distinctions of the authority vested in the executive, legislative and judiciary to ensure proper cooperation and coordination within the government.