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Advocate Godfrey Pimenta, a trustee of the Watchdog Foundation, stated, "The piling of cases across various courts in India is a sure sign of a decaying democracy. Politicians have consistently lagged behind in delivering justice to the masses because it serves their vested interests. The need of the hour is an overhaul of the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) and Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr. PC) to address procedural inefficiencies causing undue delays. Infrastructural changes such as increasing the number of courtrooms, transitioning to online hearings, and appointing more judges are necessary."
"To curtail the filing of frivolous cases, the losing party should bear the cost of litigation. Judges' appointments should be made without interference, which is often a cause for concern. It is unfortunate that the state government is neglecting to fill vacancies in quasi-judicial bodies like MahaRERA. Even a member of the appellate tribunal recently retired without a replacement. The non-filling of vacancies is affecting the delivery of justice. Despite highlighting the issue of vacancies, the present state government seems more focused on its own survival than solving matters of public interest," added Pimenta.
Solicitor Stuti Galia highlighted multiple reasons for case pendency, including a shortage of judges, lengthy procedural and technical requirements, frequent transfer of judges, and a lack of resources and infrastructure. Additionally, in many cases, regulatory/government departments fail to address grievances adequately. This leads to a significant number of cases pending against or involving these departments. Galia emphasised that if regulatory/government departments effectively discharge their duties, citizens would not need to approach courts, thus reducing the burden on the judiciary.
To address these challenges, several solutions are proposed. Firstly, the number of courts needs to be increased by establishing more benches and appointing additional judges. Structural modifications and new mechanisms are necessary. Additionally, many courts still lack modernisation and digitalisation, making the entire system inefficient. Instances where judges do not sit without prior intimation, resulting in the discharge of the entire board, cause a significant loss of time for all parties involved, including lawyers and litigants. Vacancies should be filled promptly, and the quality of legal education across the country needs improvement. The working of the courts should be enhanced by providing quality infrastructure, modernisation, and expanding the use of technology and facilities to encourage more aspiring lawyers to choose a career in the judiciary.
Advocate Rajeshwar Panchal, who practices in the Bombay High Court, echoed similar concerns, stating that the significant backlog of cases reveals two key issues. Firstly, there is a lack of regular appointments of judicial officers, resulting in courts and tribunals remaining vacant or operating with limited staff. Secondly, the government has not increased the number of judicial officers proportionately to the growing population. The high pendency also indicates that people are becoming more vigilant about their legal and constitutional rights, leading them to approach the court. Additionally, there is a lack of mechanisms to hold anyone accountable for the backlog. Notably, the higher judiciary lacks representation from all classes, and reservation policies do not apply. As a result, judicial offices are primarily occupied by individuals selected based on merit rather than reservation. However, the substantial pendency exposes the shortcomings of the merit-based system, which some quarters of society allege compromises merit.