Every year, a minimum of five crore cases are filed across various courts of India. Even as some of these cases stay pending for over ten years, judges dispose of only two crores. This is inefficient and ineffective as well. But recognizing a problem requires recognition of its causes. Here are the primary causes that you need to know.
Low awareness of rights
Two of the ten founding principles of economics are that:
- People respond to incentives, and
- The government can sometimes improve market outcomes.
As India advanced socio-economically over the decades, one of the resulting effects was an increased awareness of legal rights entitled to the common individual, allowing many to muster courage to approach courts of law for justice.
This was further catalysed by legislation set by governments for new rights such as ‘Right to Information’ and ‘Right to Education’. Devices such as Public Interest Litigation further accelerated the ever-developing volume of cases. Consequently, more parties with grievances approached the courts. However, there is still scope of improving awareness in the masses of the several laws that exist.
Not enough judges and courts.
India has 15 judges for every million people. This is one of the world's lowest ratios. Against the high volume of cases, there are not enough judges to take them on efficiently. The Indian judiciary additionally has insufficient resources. With modernization and digitization not having reached pan-India, India needs more courts and more benches.
Archaic / Vaguely drafted laws
Laws typically are subjected to amendments subject to the developments, as well as relying on precedent of cases pertinent to the same. However, there still are certain archaic laws under myriad statutes; some even dating back to the 1880s!
In addition, some are also vulnerable to faulty or vague drafting, as well as multiple interpretations by various courts are also reasons for prolonged litigation. This in turn can create further delays for redressal in an already overburdened justice system.
As a result of such causes, two questions are raised:
- What are the ramifications?
- What can be done?
A continually ineffective and inefficient justice system can risk losing the common folk’s faith in it, if reforms aren’t set up to speed the process. But this isn’t just a concern nationally.
Even foreign investors are also sceptical about the timely delivery of justice in the country. This in turn can be economically detrimental as it would mean affecting the success of economy-building programs such as ‘Make in India’.
With a judiciary that can’t handle the avalanche of cases, the justice system is overworked and loses its efficiency. As the adage goes, justice delayed is justice denied, and justice hurried is justice buried. But the thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Online Dispute Resolution
While courts move toward digitization, swift, effective and scalable mechanisms of dispute resolution can be implemented. This is where Online Dispute Resolution steps in.
This is a branch of dispute resolution that utilizes technology to aid resolving disputes between parties. Under such fields, the dispute resolution methods of negotiation, mediation or arbitration, or all three depending on the nature of the case are included. So, in layperson’s terms, it may be seen as the online parallel of alternative dispute resolution.
JustAct is a platform dedicated to this; to augment the traditional means of dispute resolution by innovating on their techniques by involving technologies in its various processes. This allows it to be applied to a variety of disputes. You can know more about our offered services