Sunday, November 25, 2012

Revamp the Indian Judicial System to Act Faster

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“This is going to go for another 10 years before the verdict comes” - this is what my friend told me sadly the other day. My friend was talking about a small shop he has in the city. His father has given it for someone on lease long back. It is years since his father died and the tenant is refusing to vacate. My friend wants that shop back now so that he can do some kind of business from that shop. The tenants have now given a case in civil court and the court has stayed eviction of them by my friend till further orders. This was when my friend told me “This is going to go for another 10 years before the verdict comes; my tenant is just buying time going to civil court against me”. 
Everyone will agree with me – in India, the pace with which the judiciary disposes off the cases is very slow. There are cases that have gone over 10 years and its end is nowhere in sight. Isn’t this slowness of Indian judicial system one of the catalysts for corruption? 
We have a law that anyone convicted of corruption charges or any other criminal offence cannot contest elections for six years. But we see lot of people with criminal history as our MP’s and MLA’s. How is that happening? There are cases against these individuals but these cases are at various stages in different courts and by the time the final verdict comes it will take so long. Isn’t this defeating the very purpose of this law? 
Few cases that come to my mind – disproportionate wealth case involving Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalitha and fodder scam involving former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav – both these cases are over a decade old and no one knows when it is going to get over. This will act as a fodder to those in power to do more wrong, right? 
Another case that comes to my mind – there are serious allegations against Kadappa MP Y.S Jaganmohan Reddy that he amassed wealth by using tactics like pressurizing companies to invest in his business in return of various favours from his father’s government. The investigation is going on for over two years and it make good number of years before the final verdict is given by Supreme Court. Compare this to a case in US – Mr Raja Rajaratnam, a Sri Lankan born American billionaire was arrested  on October 16, 2009 for charges of insider trading. He was punished for 11 years on October 13, 2011 and now serving his term in jail. If he was in India he could have come out in bail as soon as he was arrested. 
Let us change the law and make it mandatory for all courts to finish off each case in a specific period – say one year after it is filed. Let government give all these courts the necessary resources for that. If we have such a law then we all know that if a big fish is caught doing something wrong a verdict is going to come soon and don’t have to wait for ever to know if he/she has done something wrong. 
Without such a change in law, the likes of Rajas and Kalmadis will still contest the elections and may very well win again with all those charges against them and making mockery of democracy. Dispose the cases fast and in a time bound way can reduce corruption to a great extend. 
Justice delayed is justice denied, right?
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