Reading Time: 5 mins On February 2020, a Lok Sabha MP stated that the government should immediately put all issues pertaining to reservations for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes in the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution so that they are not challenged in the court. This statement comes days after the Supreme Court ruled that the reservation in the matter of promotions of the public post was not a fundamental right and that a state cannot be compelled to offer quota if it chooses not to. The Ninth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, since its enactment, remains a contentious issue as its constitutionality is questioned.
Reading Time: 10 mins Though there are comprehensive provisions in the constitution and many laws have been passed to provide for the need of access to justice, the stark inequality in access to justice is one of the glaring problems of our country. Judiciary itself recognized this problem in the 1980s and the concept of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was introduced in Indian justice system. But recently, it has been in the news as the solicitor general Tushar Mehta criticized them in the Supreme court. He said that the “Self-employment generation petitions”, as he called the PILs, must be stopped. Let us understant, Through this article, the concept of PILs.
Reading Time: 9 mins The Lok Adalat is an innovative Indian contribution to the global jurisprudence. It is one of the efficient alternative dispute resolution mechanisms that have the potential to provide amicable settlements of differences. It also provides for an inclusive justice as envisaged by the Constitution of India. However, currently, this mechanism has lost public trust due to lack of resources and skilled manpower, differences among judges and lawyers and inefficiency along with the lack of consideration of public sensitivity. Thus, it is vital for structurally and culturally reform this mechanism so that it can achieve its original goal.
Reading Time: 5 mins Justice is a foundational value of the Indian value system. After Independence, it expectedly became one of the basic principles on which our constitution is based. Despite that, there is an inequality in justice delivery. The time, space, and money quotient of the current judicial process makes it imperative to search for alternate and complementary mechanisms that can make the justice delivery more accessible, democratic, and effective. The formation of Gram Nyayalayas is such one step.
Reading Time: 8 mins Courts are an essential service for civil society. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the courts across India have gone into an urgent-only, online-only mode with electronic filings, email mentions and online hearing for select cases via video conferencing/audio facilities. This is a necessary step to the already burdened judiciary to dispose of the pending cases before the lockdown is lifted. Many have readily adapted to this swift change during these trying times. However, the concept of e-court or a virtual court still has limitations and issues, though the scopes are many. Therefore, necessary solutions must be put forth so that the concept of e-courts is made permanent to certain hearings.
Reading Time: 4 mins
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.
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The Home Minister had recently said that the Bureau of Police Research and Development should work on a proposal to amend various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure. This comes in response to the growing inefficiency of India’s Criminal Justice system. India’s criminal justice mechanism suffers from a lack of judiciary’s accountability and non-cooperation between its investigation and prosecution wings, allowing criminals to go scot-free. Even if they are charged, they manage to wriggle out either due to botchy investigation or apathetic prosecution. India’s Criminal Justice System is dismal as its conviction rate is just 21.2% of the cognisable offences. On the other hand, countries like the US and Japan have a conviction rate of over 98%. Clearly, reforms in India’s criminal justice system are a need of the hour.
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Indian judiciary, according to National Judicial Data Grid Statistics, has about 3 crores pending cases. Due to its slow pace, many prefer arbitration to solve the issues of dispute settlement, monetary recovery, etc. To encourage foreign investments and promote ease of doing business, faster judicial procedures and efficient dispute resolution are essential. Provisions to settle disputes through arbitration are provided in Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. This law was amended twice: in 2015 and during the recent parliament session.
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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.