“Justice delayed is justice denied” this is a very popular legal maxim which also goes well with our legal system. The meaning of this legal maxim is that when a person suffers some injury and damage, and there is also a legal remedy to it but the remedy is not given on time or is delayed. The same maxim could also be used for the defendants, many a time a defendant is also acquitted of the charges against him but due to a delay in the process of justice the defendant has to live his life of an accused for a crime which he or she has not committed. The process of speedy trial or justice comes under the Article 21, which states the fundamental right for protection of life and personal liberty. In the case of “Hussian v. Union of India” it was observed that timely delivery of justice comes under the human rights, a denial of speedy justice would also threat the confidence of the public in the administration of justice. Another case “Dipak Shubashhchandra Mehta v. Central Bureau of Investigation” it was observed that when a undertrial prisoner is detained for an indefinitely period in jail custody, it is a violation of Article 21.
FACTORS AFFECTING SPEEDY JUSTICE
· Lack of manpower: The main problem of or factor that affect the process of speedy trial is the lack of manpower. As of 1st January 2016, there were 16119 judges in the Subordinate Courts, 598 in the High Court’s and only 26 in the Supreme Court and as on 11th July 2016, India had only 16,438 judges in the Subordinate Courts, 621 in High Courts and only 29 in the Supreme Court. Even if a smaller number of judges can manage a large number of cases, then also the burden on each judge is very high which should also be taken care off.
· Complex procedure: The procedure of getting justice in our country is very complex which increases the time consumption and delay the whole process of the trial.
· Role of police:In many cases we can find police taking bribe for doing an investigation or vice-versa. Even in many cases the police even refuse to take an FIR, so that they don’t have to work. Sometimes they delay the process of investigation and hence causes a significant delay in submitting the charge sheets. While sometimes these charge sheets are returned back to them for rectifications.
· Forensic reports:Sometimes forensic reports are delayed and the trial has to wait until such reports are received by the Court. In some cases, forensic report is sent for cross checking which consumes more time.
· Petitions filed in different Courts: Sometimes even to delay the process of justice the accused file petitions in different Courts hence sometimes causing the lower Courts to wait for the Higher Courts to give necessary directions to continue with the proceedings.
· Accused abscond:In many cases accuse absconds to different countries or goes underground to avoid any proceedings against him or her making it tough for the police and the State to bring such person in front of the Court and it may sometime take days whereas in some cases it may take months or years to bring the accused in front of the Court.
SUGGESTIONS TO IMPROVE THE COURT EFFICACY IN GIVING FAST AND FAIR JUDGEMENTS
· Increase manpower: More Judges should be appointed in the country to distribute
the work pressure among them hence reducing their stress, which would also help them give much faster and effective judgements.
· Increase Courts: More Courts should be made to dispose of as many cases as possible at the earliest. Special Courts should be set up to take cognisance of heinous offences directly and conduct trials on a daily basis.
· Role of police:Police officers should be more sincere towards their job and should focus on preventing crimes instead of committing them by taking bribe or by rejecting to take any complaint of a victim. The Courts should closely keep an eye over the working of the police and should take strict course of action in case of any complaint against them and punish them if convicted.
· E-Courts: E-Courts should be set for virtual proceedings in cases where physical proceedings could not be taken place. Many a time the people related to the case don’t arrive at the Court citing reasons like health issues or outside station, in such cases virtual proceedings can come handy.
· Amendments in necessary laws:There are many offences in nature that are not serious in nature can be brought under compoundable offences. Laws should be amended so that the accuse and the witnesses be present in the Court on the day of the trial without fail, so that any kind of questioning or cross-questioning can be done without any delay. If due to any reason they fail to be present in the Court they should inform it to the Court from before. Summoning the accused and the witnesses on every occasion or on different occasions consumes time so it should be made compulsory for them if not for all it should be made compulsory for the accused. Laws should be amended to make sure if anybody who is on bail does not arrive at the Court on the day of the proceeding the Court shall continue to hear the case without such person being present. Immediate cancelation of bail if any of the condition is breached by such person and such person shall not be provided with bail until the case is over.
EXAMPLES OF JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED
In a case a 23-year-old man was accused and was convicted by a trial court for rape and was sentenced to life long imprisonment. But later after 20 years, when his age is 43 years, he was acquitted by the Allahabad High Court. The saddest part was he lost his 20years of life and lost everything including his family. This is the bitter truth of the Indian judiciary, the delay of the judgement of his acquittal made him serve in prison for 20 years which is a punishment for a crime not committed.
In another famous case J. Jayalalitha v. Union of India, the first charge sheet was filed in June, 1997. But the verdict was delivered twenty years later and by that time Jayalalitha was dead. So, we can see that how delayed the judgement was made and given that the person against whom the case was filed was no longer alive to hear the verdict.
“On 13 June 1997 at 4:55 p.m. a swirling mass of thick smog entered the balcony section of the well-known cinema hall located in south Delhi. With most exits unavailable and no usher to help, the people seated on the balcony found themselves trapped.
By 7:00 p.m. fifty-seven people had died and one hundred seven injured in the ensuing stampede. Two or more died later in hospital.
Neelam and Shekhar Krishnamoorthy lost their children Unnati and Ujjwal aged seventeen and thirteen respectively that day. They decided to fight for justice- to bring those who are responsible for tragedy to book. Their battle which started nineteen years ago continues till date.”- quotes the book “Trial by Fire”.
In the above-mentioned casebased on Uphaar cinema tragedy,we can find how the family of the victims decided to fight for justice but the delay in the judgement was like denying of justice to the family of the victims. The Indian judiciary should try to give more fast and effective judgements.
There are millions of cases pending between the Courts of the country, the judiciary should try and be faster in hearing and deciding on different cases, so that no one feels that justice is denied to them. It’s useless and unconstitutional if accused who are innocent have to stay in custody for years just because of the delay in the Court proceedings and vice versa, where the plaintiff has to get rounds of Court seeking for justice, when the Constitution itself speaks about fair and fast or speedy trial.
The Chief Justice of the United States Warren E. Burger noted while addressing to the American Bar Association in 1970:
“A sense of confidence in the courts is essential to maintain the fabric of ordered liberty for a free people and three things could destroy that confidence and do incalculable damage to society: that people come to believe that inefficiency and delay will drain even a just judgment of its value; that people who have long been exploited in the smaller transactions of daily life come to believe that courts cannot vindicate their legal rights from fraud and over-reaching; that people come to believe the law – in the larger sense – cannot fulfil its primary function to protect them and their families in their homes, at their work, and on the public streets.”
· AIR 2017 SC 1362
· 2012 (4) SCC 134
· Judges available in India as on 2016, available at: https://www.livemint.com/Politics/3B97SMGhseobYhZ6qpAYoN/How-many-judges-does-India-really-need.html
· After 20 years man gets acquitted of rape charges, available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/after-20-years-in-jail-on-rape-charges-man-found-not-guilty-by-hc/articleshow/81279278.cms
· J. Jayalalitha v. Union of India, available at:https://blog.ipleaders.in/justice-delayed-justice-denied-can-deal-inefficiency-courts-fast-changing-society/
· Trial by Fire, available at: https://penguin.co.in/book/trial-by-fire/
· Chief Justice Warren E. Burger noted while addressing the American Bar Association, available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._News_%26_World_Report
ADAMAS UNIVERSITY, SCHOOL OF LAW & JUSTICE
 AIR 2017 SC 1362
 2012 (4) SCC 134
 Judges available in India as on 2016, available at: https://www.livemint.com/Politics/3B97SMGhseobYhZ6qpAYoN/How-many-judges-does-India-really-need.html
 After 20 years man gets acquitted of rape charges,available at: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/agra/after-20-years-in-jail-on-rape-charges-man-found-not-guilty-by-hc/articleshow/81279278.cms
 J. Jayalalitha v. Union of India, available at:https://blog.ipleaders.in/justice-delayed-justice-denied-can-deal-inefficiency-courts-fast-changing-society/
 Chief Justice Warren E. Burger noted while addressing the American Bar Association, available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._News_%26_World_Report