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Q.1) India’s judges are often alleged to be corrupt. Discuss the reasons for corruption in judiciary. What are the legal frameworks to curb this menace? (GS-2)

Recently, an FIR was filed against a retired judge of the Orissa High Court for allegedly attempting to influence proceedings in the Supreme Court through extraneous means. This led to extraordinary accusations of misconduct against India’s most senior judge and prevalence of corruption in judiciary.

Reasons for Judicial Corruption:

  1. Judicial Corruption exists because public trials are almost never heart by the public.
  2. Lack of accountability breeds corruption. Judicial accountability is as important as accountability of the executive or legislature.
  3. Corruption in lower courts: India’s judicial corruption is a cancer that begins at the lower levels and inches its way up.
  4. Corruption in higher courts:India’s higher court judges are selected from lower court judges and lawyers; there is always a possibility of corrupt judges making it to higher courts.
  5. Cumbersome impeachment proceedings.The lengthy and cumbersome impeachment provision is, thus, not an effective tool to ensure judicial accountability.
  6. Excessive delay in disposal of cases.
  7. Indian judiciary is facing institutional crisis on account of the most ferocious attack ever on the judiciary by the executive.

The legal framework to curb corruption

  • Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988: This is India’s principal legislation against corruption.Its main thrust is to prohibit public servants from accepting or soliciting illegal gratification in the discharge of their official functions.

Indian Penal Code (IPC):

  • Various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) provide criminal punishment for public servants who disobey relevant laws or procedures, frame incorrect or improper documents, unlawfully engage in trade, or abuse their position or discretion.
  • The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 seeks to prevent money laundering including laundering of property through corruption and provides for confiscation of such a property. It mainly targets banks, financial institutions and intermediaries such stock market intermediaries.
  • The Right to Information (RTI), 2005 Act represents one of the country’s most critical achievements in the fight against corruption.The Act also requires every public authority to computerize its records for wide dissemination and to proactively publish certain categories of information for easy citizen access.

Q.2) Self-help groups can help address the problem of intimate partner violence. Discuss (GS-2)

An intimate relationship is an interpersonal relationship that involves physical and emotional intimacy. Physical intimacy is characterized by friendship, platonic love, romantic love, or sexual activity.

Intimate relationships are important sites where violence against women is used to perpetuate patriarchy.These stem from the belief that women who don’t obey or don’t perform their set gender roles deserve to be beaten.

The World Health Organisation estimates that almost one-third of all women who have been in a relationship have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner, which affects their physical and mental well-being. Boys who witness parental violence are more likely to use it in their adult relationships; girls are more likely to justify it.

SHGs role in resolving intimate partner violence:

  • Self-help groups can help address the problem of intimate partner violence. Violent acts, at the hands of a husband or a partner (intimate partner violence, or IPV), are distressingly common worldwide.
  • The potential of large-scale groups of women, such as self-help groups (SHGs), becomes critical in the Indian context.
  • India has experimented with many models of community dispute resolution mechanisms — the Nari Adalats (women courts) in various States, Women’s Resource Centres (Rajasthan), Shalishi (West Bengal), and Mahila Panchayats (Delhi) — which have seen IPV as a public issue rather than a personal problem.
  • Several NGOs have co-opted these models so that women can resolve cases of violence without getting entangled in tedious legal processes.
  • SHGs are the most widely present collectives across regions.
  • The experiences of large-scale programmes offer valuable insights into action for IPV redressal within SHG-led development models. These, as well as previous models, provide two key lessons — one, collectives of women need adequate investment for building their capacities; and two, mediation of IPV requires specialised structures to avoid manipulation by kinship relations and political affinities.
  • SHGs are mostly seen as administrative entities. Their social role can be enhanced to tackle the widespread problem of IPV.

Q.3)  Indian judiciary is facing crisis with huge number of pending cases. Discuss the reasons for backlog problem in Indian judiciary. In your opinion what can be done to tackle this problem? (GS-2)

Indian judiciary is facing crisis with huge number of pending cases.  For 1.7 billion people in India, there are 31 judges in the SC and 1,079 in high courts.There are never more than 600 judges appointed at any point. As of April 2017, there were 430 posts of judges and additional judges lying vacant in high courts, and 5,000 posts vacant at the district level and lower. For 2017-18, the Union budget allocated a meagre Rs 1,744 crore to the judiciary — about 0.4 per cent of the total budget.

Reasons for backlog problem in Indian judiciary:       

  • Strength of judges in courts is lower than required to fill up the seats. This shortage leads to delay in judgment
  • Frequent transfers of judges take the interest out of them to hear the cases that their successor may give judgment to, after the transfer. Such arrears mustn’t exist.
  • Vacancies of judiciary aren’t filled up due to unavailability of good judges
  • Fast-track special courts for commercial disputes are established, thus disregarding the poor entirely.
  • Appellate courts are falling short in dealing with the cases hence passing the burden to civil and criminal justice system.
  • Higher number of holidays, lack of time management is the problem which lies to the base of judiciary.
  • Poor dispute resolution mechanism.
  • Poor manpower and crumbling infrastructure, coupled with a boom in litigation, made the judiciary underperform.
  • . Filing of the frequent government litigation keeps the courts busy instead of serving justice to the people speedily.
  • New laws were enacted by Parliament without a commensurate increase in judicial officers or courts. For example, dishonour of cheques was made a criminal offence in 1988.
  • Frequent adjournments and indiscriminate use of writ jurisdiction.

Measures:

To resolve the issues before judicial system the following measures can be taken:

  • Revamping Institutional and Infrastructural weakness
  • Increase fund allocation from existing 1 percent to 3-4 percent
  • Fulfill the vacancies of judges and subordinates
  • Clubbing of cases by the courts of the same nature
  • Promotion of Gram-Nyayalaya and proper regulation by allowing greater powers
  • Conducting Lok Adalat
  • Making special proceeding provision for justice seeker of sexually assaulted victims, SC, ST and minority giving proper place to expedient judicial mechanism’
  • Increasing budgetary allocation in Judiciary.
  • Framing clear and decisive judgments to avoid further litigation.

Conclusion:

Addressing the backlog is necessary to maintain India’s “constitutional democracy”, to adhere to “rule of law” and to “guarantee order and stability in society”. The country’s progress depends on strong judicial system which can provide quick justice because justice delayed is justice denied.

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