Constitution Of India reflects the quest and aspiration of the mankind for justice when its Preamble speaks of justice in all its forms: social, economic and political.
Those who have suffered physically, mentally or economically, approach the Courts, with great hope, for redressal of their grievances believing that one day or the other, they would get justice from the Courts.
Justice Delivery System, therefore, is under an obligation to deliver prompt and inexpensive justice to its consumers, without in any manner compromising on the quality of justice or the elements of fairness, equality and impartiality.
The success of the Indian Judiciary on the Constitutional front is unparallel. Its contribution in enlarging and enforcing human rights is widely appreciated.
Judiciary has taken several appreciable initiatives and to name a few it includes Fast track court, Special Court for special offences, Alternative Dispute Resolution [ADR] and Court Management and Case Management.
The Author focuses the need to emphasis on known and prevailing forum and well accepted principles in the Judiciary system.
‘Plea Bargaining’ is a method to combat delays and backlogs in the Indian judiciary and was introduced in India by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2005 that became enforceable from January 11, 2006.
Plea bargaining is applicable to cases based on summary trial where the maximum punishment does not exceed imprisonment for seven years. This is available only to the first time offenders. Once an order is passed under plea bargaining, no appeal lies against the order. Plea bargaining” can be defined as negotiations between the accused and the prosecution during which the accused agrees to plead guilty in exchange for certain concessions by the prosecution.
The advantages would include that it is convenient and faster to settle cases reducing the work load for Judiciary and equally it helps the offender in accepting the responsibility and liability for their actions voluntarily, without having an expensive and time consuming trial, troubles of bearing the brunt of delays, traveling costs, etc.
Thus, it will help in emphasizing reformatory system.
The concept however could not pick up the pace as some of the legal experts held that it is violation of Constitutional rights. Art 20(3) of the Constitution of India provides for the right against self -incrimination which was extended to include right to remain silent and other natural justice rights available to the accused.
Compounding of Offence
The legislation had incorporated the concept of Compounding under section 320 of CrPc.
Baring few examples including the cases of compounding under section sec 498(A) IPC, Sec 138 of NI Act, the provisions have not been put to optimum use.
This principle and the concept is capable to achieving far higher and remarkable results as it will not only lead to the faster and speedier disposal of the pending cases, it will nourish the concept of harmony among the litigating parties. The World is today debating on the quantum of punishment and death penalties and in this context it will be appropriate to evaluate the bigger men sera and human philosophy that the harsher punishment to the offender may trigger further hostility leading to further rise in crime rate.
In today’s world and with high pending list of cases, there is greater need to reinforce Res Judicata, which in Latin means “a matter (already) judged.” It is also called as Claim Preclusion. It is a common law practice meant to bar re-litigation of cases.
The principle which is founded on justice, equity and good conscience needs to be extensive and widely made applicable to the lawsuit, which have matters identical to or substantially the same as the earlier one.
Thus extrapolating the concept that the justice delivered in one case and the well accepted legal precedence, the Judiciary can try the cases summarily which have same or similar facts – thereby shortening the process and expediting the Judicial System.
Judicial impact assessment
Very often, legislation/(s) are enacted without considering the overall impact it may have on the functioning of the courts. For example, the promulgation of section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, Electricity Disputes, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Traffic Laws, etc. loaded the courts with cases.
In judicial impact assessment, the new law/bill must be accompanied by a memorandum that indicates what impact the bill will have on the judicial system, that is, whether additional courts are required to be created or any other restructuring is required to deal with a new law and the new offence and what are the petty offences and how many can arise, etc.
This helps to deal with the backlogs and future cases and helps in developing differential treatment for different cases aimed at early disposal.
Thus, until and unless the problem of backlogs and delays is dealt as a whole through the above suggestions, the judges loaded with heavy caseloads cannot allot sufficient time and cannot do complete justice.