Indian Judicial system is beset with many ills. One of which is the “Delays” particularly in civil suits.

Lok Pal Bill tries to address the problem of corruption in Judiciary but no body seems to worry about delays except the hapless victim.

The problem is more when the victim has invoked a Court to render him justice in a money recovery suit and the defendant is interested in delaying the proceedings so that he can continue to enjoy the wrongful gain he has made.

Recently I had a personal experience of how advocates play one Court against the other to delay matters. The strategy used is simply to raise some objection against one Court in a higher court on the basis of non existent jurisdictional issues or procedural issues. Since there is no punishment for advocates to make false claims in the plaints mere allegations and unsubstantiated contentions are sufficient to file an appeal for interim stay. In such cases Courts are often pleased to admit the petitions and grant interim stay until the next hearing where the affected party is expected to reply. If he files a reply a futher date of hearing is fixed. If not the case may be disposed off against him. In further hearings, the advocates have the liberty to feign illness, being out of town or attending another case etc and the Courts are happy to grant adjournments as if it is a right of the advocate.

Unfortunately there is no proper system to object to such practices since the advocates may simply put the blame on the Judiciary itself stating that if Judges can allow themselves to be used one against the other to defeat the purpose of law what can advocates do. They say that as long as there are Judges who allow themselves to be manipulated, advocates have the right to manipulate them.

Certainly this appears to be a good argument.  Judges need to stand up and oppose any corrupt practices of the advocates for delaying the proceedings. Many judges are simply not interested. This apathy is actually an injustice committed on the victim.

It is time for the Judiciary therefore to introspect and see that judges donot admit petitions for interim stay against other lower court proceedings without a very strong reason. Chief Justices of High Courts need to review the decisions of their subordinates when such decisions are given since the decisions may also indicate possibility of corruption.

I request trend setting Courts such as the Chennai High Court to invite information from public if they feel they have been wronged by a decision of any Judge of the Court having stayed the proceedings of another lower court without valid reasons. The Court should have an internal review system where the Chief Justice reviews the decisions of his subordinates and makes a sample investigation of such cases.

While I admit that there is a legal process for applying for a review, I consider that for poor litigants it is not an option to file one more petition for a petition which has been erroneously disposed off. Hence it is the responsibility of the Chief Justices to ensure “Quality” in their Courts through an internal review system as well as a public complaint receiving system.

I look forward to some concrete action by one or more of the Chief Justices in different States.

Naavi, A Netizen Activist

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