Sunday, January 6, 2013

Every Court Should Be Made Real And Performing Fast Track Court

We need every court to be a fast-track court, dispose of cases fast (Economic Times)

Fast-track courts for sexual offences are widely seen as a needed reform to stem the rising tide of crimes against women. But the following statistic should give us pause: six lakh cases are pending in over 1,000 fast-track courts around the country.

A sensational rape case from Kerala urges further caution: the incident took place in 1996, a special case was set up to try it in 1999, it awarded sentences in 2000, but the high court let off most of the accused in 2005 and the state's appeal against that in the Supreme Court languished till end- 2012.

Fast-tracking some cases, leaving others to linger on even longer, is no real solution. We need to revamp the judicial system to make it functional. An integral part of this reform is setting up more courts at all levels, and creating procedure that ensures continuous hearing till a case is disposed of.

Thoroughness in court proceedings is a function, among other things, of how many cases a particular court has to dispose of. Another factor that most people avoid discussing is lax supervision of lower courts by higher courts.

Why should a judge whose orders are uninformed by principles or precedents established by a higher court be allowed to continue in service? Why should the Supreme Court find it has to accept as many appeals against high court verdicts as they do at present? What does this say about the quality of the judicial process at the level of high courts?

We need to institute judicial accountability. In a democracy, the people are the final arbiters. Institutional arrangements, including the courts, are only means to serve the collective good. If a particular institutional arrangement proves to be dysfunctional, as the courts have, it must be changed. Resources are not a constraint any more.

A central scheme to build one lakh new court houses will serve the poor more than any other plan scheme. Only absence of political will remains a constraint. Remove it, please!
Reality of Fast Track Courts established in the year 2004 is given below. This is part of an article published in Delhi Rape case

India set up 1,700 fast-track courts in 2004, but stopped funding them last year because they turned out to be costly. The courts typically work six days a week and try to reduce adjournments that lead to long delays in cases. 

"The record of the fast-track courts is mixed," Gonsalves said. Conviction rates rose, he said, but due process was sometimes rushed, leading to convictions being overturned. 

"Fast-track courts were in many ways were fast-

track injustice," he said. 

The real problem lie with bad policing and a shortage of judges, Gonsalves said. India has about a fifth of the number of judges per capita that the United States has. 

Indian police are often poorly trained and underpaid, and have sometimes been implicated in organised crime. Rights groups complain the mostly male officers are insensitive to victims of sexual crimes. 

Resources for, and expertise in, forensic science is limited in most of the country's police forces and confessions are often extracted under duress. The judiciary complains it is hard to convict offenders because of faulty evidence. 

Human Rights Watch said reforms to laws and procedures covering rape and other sexual crimes should focus on protection of witnesses and modernizing support for victims at police stations and hospitals. 

The rights organization has documented the continued use of archaic practices such as the "finger test" used by some doctors on rape victims to allegedly determine if they had regular sex. 

"Reforms in the rape laws - these are needed. But not in terms of enhancing punishment," said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia Director of Human Rights Watch. 

"Why they are not investigated, why there are not enough convictions, those are the things that need to be addressed."
To read more you may click on following link

Fast-tracking justice delivery 

by Mythili Bhusnurmath  

Economic Times

If the death of the 23-yearold victim of gang rape in Delhi is not to be in vain, there are two fronts on which we must move in unison — improving policing and the justice delivery system — apart, of course, from societal change. 

While improving policing is necessarily a painstaking long-term endeavour, improving the efficiency of our justice-delivery system is not. Contrary to widespread opinion, there are fairly simple ways to improve our justice-delivery system. Provided the government and the judiciary, in that order, are serious about it! 

The first is to fast-track the system. The huge backlog of cases — more than three crore cases are reportedly pending before our high courts and subordinate courts — is one of the reasons both for low rate of conviction and the rise in crime rate. When criminal elements know they can get away literally with murder, there is no reason why they or other potential offenders should fear the heavy hand of the law. 

So what can we do to ensure justice is meted out promptly? Usual suggestions include filling the vacancies in the judiciary, especially at the lower levels, increasing funding, improving court infrastructure and so on. But a simpler expedient and entirely within the government’s domain is to reduce litigation between the various arms of government. 

Today, government is a litigant in about 70% of pending cases. About 60% of these are between the central and state governments, local authorities and public sector undertakings. A simple and effective way to reduce pendency in courts would, therefore, be for various arms of government to resolve their disputes through alternate dispute-resolution channels such as arbitration and compromise settlements rather than clog the courts. 
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Criminals Do Not Fear Law

Over 43L cases pending before high courts

 ( From Times of India )

NEW DELHI: The wait for justice is likely to be longest if you file a court case in Uttar Pradesh or Tamil Nadu. There are 10 lakh cases pending before the Allahabad high court followed by 4.7 lakh cases in Madras HC.
To read more you may click on following link

1 comment:

  1. True, the process of meting justice should be fast track, as justice delayed is justice denied. Moreover, the working over of the concept of juvenility is also a need of the hour.