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CurrentAffairs : The Indian legal system - Law and Disorder

They say the law is an ass. If this is true, the Indian legal system must be one with an exceptionally long life.


Consider this : Over two million cases are pending in 18 High Courts alone and more than 200,000 cases are pending in the Supreme Court for admission, interim relief or final hearing. And it takes anywhere between 5 to 15 years for a case to be decided in an Indian Court.

(Source)

Because of the extra-ordinary time it takes to get justice in India, people have a tendency to avoid filing cases. Many disputes are sought to be settled through mediators of various kinds, if not goons and local politicians. But this does not stop the judicial system of pointing a finger at the society as litigious, as one of the reasons why justice is so delayed in India. The other frequently cited reason is the lack of the' Executive' filling up judicial positions, to the strength they have been allocated. Experts also attribute the delay due to arcane procedures, irrelevant laws and a long drawn out appeals procedure.

Whatever be the underlying reasons, the fact is that the Judiciary has failed the society, in so much as it does not enjoy the full confidence of the people that they will get speedy justice.

The long drawn out Jessica Lal murder case and the Mumbai blasts (1993) trial case only underscores this weakness. In the '93 blasts case, close to 300 people were killed. Only today, were 4 accused sentenced. On top of it the Judge says that he would need almost a month just to read out the Judgement and sentence the accused! In any other country, there would have been an outcry for this sort of Justice. But that applies for civilized countries where rule of law prevails.

It would be interesting to anticipate what would be the fate of Sanjay Dutt in this trail (accused # 117). Sanjay was caught red handed with the arms used by the accused who carried the blasts. Everyone knows this. But it’s taken since '93 for him to be judged for that offence. His influential father made sure he got bail and apart from the year or two in jail, Sanjay is leading the life of privilege he was used to. Would any other Indian citizen, who was not as privileged be given this kind of a concession, if he was caught red handed with AK47's linked to a case of such magnitude? If it was (say) another Muslim citizen, in Sanjay's position would be have been given the same treatment?

I rest my case.



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September 21, 2006 2:59 AM

Very nice post. One keeps hearing all this again and again but no permanant solution emerges. Why is it that we do not have the kind of laws that are there in the United states considering the fact that both are democracies. Why cant this delay business be investigated once and for all. Strange but I have also taken up the issue in my post.    



September 21, 2006 11:21 AM

The media should follow it up and take it to its logical solution.    



November 30, 2007 3:58 PM

The media should do something. That's right, I sent the Times of India,Bangalore when they published a story on crores of rupees worth assets recovered by the Lok Ayukta ,with police officers. They also claimed that a few months back similar assets had been recovered with some other officials , what happened ,they were promoted.
The memory of the public is very short. I don't think around 3 weeks since the article was printed and i'm writing this anyone even remembers the incident. Why can't the media take up the case for people who read their papers. Continue the story,publish regular reports of what is happening with the cases. I'm sure it isn't going to affect their readership in any adverse way, might only boost it.    



June 27, 2008 3:56 PM

E-discovery, Indian laws need to witness sea changes and conversions to adapt to the new age of electronic information.

Paper documents were considered as the best documentary evidence in Indian courts for centuries. Today, documents are rarely handwritten. Most documents are created using personal computers or E-mail programs. Professionals rely upon personal computers to maintain diaries and to create their written communications. Most computer users have become prolific writers because of the convenience that computers provide. More documentary evidence exists today than ever before and it exists in a variety of electronically stored formats. However, a majority of computer-created documents are never printed on paper. Many are exchanged over the Internet and are read on the computer screen. Thus, the legal document discovery process has drastically changed as it relates to computer created documents.

LAWYERS AND JUDGES are seeking production of the entire computer hard disk drives, floppy diskettes, zip disks and even cell phones and palm computer devices. These new forms of documentary evidence have broadened the potentials for legal discovery. Unfortunately, our legal system has not kept pace with computer technology and the new document discovery requirements and electronic data. Electronic documents and its discovery should change the way lawyers and the courts do business in India .

Under the current legal system an increasing quantity of information relevant to civil and criminal cases is stored electronically , rather than on traditional paper form. Despite this development, there has been no widespread study or debate as to whether the provisions of our Criminal procedure code, Civil procedure code and Evidence act adequately address the difficult issues that frequently arise when evidence is stored in electronic form.

We cannot assume that the same rules applicable to the discovery of traditional form of evidence can be applied to electronic data. I have great concern on this wrong assumption. We need to have simple but important changes in our existing laws to adapt to the new age of electronic information.

We need to change our current legal system which is complex and outdated. We need laws that promote technology based services. Our existing discipline of law need to witness sea changes and conversions with the help of technology. Litigation support products/technology should evolve rapidly over the next few years and become part of our legal system more vital than they are today. They should be designed to prepare lawyers, law firms and legal departments to try a case, which includes interviewing witnesses, discovery of documents, document review, and case preparation. Litigation support services should help lawyers to reduce their costs, increase efficiency, and improve the quality of their work product so that they can focus on the practice of law.

Vinod Kuriakose- vinodkuriakose@gmail.com or visit his website http://vinodsite.b0x.com    



July 30, 2008 4:39 PM

Very good write up on E-discovery in India. The concerned authorities should look to this. We should change with time .    



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