‘Justice delayed is justice denied’ is an old saying. It means that if timely justice is not provided to the sufferer, it loses it importance and violates human rights. The Indian judicial system still lives in old age. It has been observed that a number of cases are pending in courts for a very long time. It was reported that more than 34 lakh cases are pending for disposal in the High Courts and the number of cases pending in the subordinate courts has crossed two crores. Victims have to go through a terrific time while seeking justice. We often hear about such justice being delivered either after the death of justice seeker or at that time when it has become redundant and useless for him. This approach of justice delivery system brings forth a pathetic situation prevailing all around. Few years ago, it is shocking to observe that it took six years to establish that the 59 people died because of criminal negligence on the part of the cinema management and the Delhi government. It was clear from day one that nobody would have died had proprietors of the cinema hall followed safety rules but because the wheels of Indian justice move at the pace of our ‘national vehicle’ the bullock cart it took six years for justice to be done.


In vogue justice delayed is justice denied is a very smooth saying. But it is not as easy to understand without clarification as to what actu­ally is meant by the delay in justice. In between seeking justice and deliverance of justice there are a lot of pre-requisites and formalities of rules and regulations and prescribed procedures governing proceed­ings of the court time consuming but unavoidable for the purpose. The justice as such is becoming costlier, in terms of time and money. Since the citizens are unable to apply costly lubrication to the parts of mechanism attached to the system, their work is delayed and justice goes out of their reach. It is very shameful that as many as 30 million cases are pending in the Indian courts. As a matter of fact, the system of law courts that we inherited from the British rulers has grown of age and needs modification, and these modifications should be such which suit our needs and convenience. The modifications should aim at shortening the period of proceedings of the court, amendment in the rules and regulations governing court proceedings and simplification of the procedures, so that people’s faith in the legal system may not finish. In order to do away with the over burden of the law courts, we should introduce a scrutiny system for proposed prosecutions so that only the bonafide cases are okayed for prosecution and sent to courts.


Secondly, a time limit should be fixed for the disposal of cases. The number of courts should be increased as we are the lowest in the world on judges per million populations. The remuneration of the law­yers should be fixed after evaluation of the case by a competent court officer in consultation with a senior office bearer of the Bar Association. Unless such steps, to ensure speedy disposal of cases, are not taken, the present system cannot give a desirable performance.