Delay in justice delivery
THE preamble of our constitution stipulates that it shall be a fundamental aim of the state to realise through the democratic process a society in which the rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedom, equality and justice will be secured for all its citizens. But this fundamental aim of the state can be achieved only when each and every citizen, irrespective of his/her economic or social status, is provided with a reasonable opportunity to approach the legal institutions in vindication of his/her rights or grievances. Ensuring effective access to justice is, therefore, a precondition for the establishment of the rule of law and protection of fundamental human rights in a society.
Again, effective access to justice requires that the dispute resolution process must be responsive, prompt and efficient because if it takes unnecessarily long time and there are procedural hurdles to obtain justice, these delay and procedural complexities themselves create another forum of injustice for the litigants. Unfortunately, this has been the case with us.
The rate of disposal of cases, over the years, has been extremely unsatisfactory which is proved by a huge backlog of around 2.7 million cases that are now pending with the courts across the country including the Appellate Division and the High Court Division of the Supreme Court. This sorry state of affairs has virtually rendered access to justice of the common people hampered and the quality of justice compromised.
In fact, dillydallying in the administration of justice and resultant huge backlog of cases have reached such a proportion in our country that the citizens are virtually denied their right to redress their grievances by having recourse to the law courts. This has, consequently, resulted in serious erosion of faith of the common people in the judiciary as a forum to seek justice.
As nothing more nearly touches the welfare and security of an average citizen than his sense that he can rely on certain and prompt administration of justice for seeking legal redress for his grievances, it is said that there is no better test of the excellence of a government than the efficiency of its judicial systems. This sorry state of affairs cannot, therefore, be allowed to continue anymore.
It’s high time that the government and all other stakeholders including the judges, lawyers, court officials and even the litigating parties made sincere efforts in this regard to rid our judiciary of this menace and thereby ensure effective access to justice for all.
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