This poem of Julia A F Cabney in “Little Things” was quoted by the Supreme Court judges Doraiswamy Raju and Arijit Pasayat while delivering their judgement on April 12 in the infamous Best Bakery riot case in Gujarat. Before I start I would like to highlight something about the origin of the quoted line “Justice delayed is justice denied.” This line was written by William Ewart Gladstone (1809 – 1898).
He was one of the greatest of English Politicians and also former British Prime Minister. The 15th August 1947 is a red-letter day to the Indians. India got freedom on this day at midnight. The last ship carrying British soldiers left India for England. Struggle for independence was thus over on this day. But, to speak the truth, it was only the beginning of a struggle –n vogue justice delayed is justice denied is a very smooth saying. But it is not as easy to understand without clarification as to what actually is meant by the delay in justice.
In between seeking justice and deliverance of justice there are a lot of pre-requisites and formalities of rules and regulations and prescribed procedures governing proceedings of the court time consuming but unavoidable for the purpose.
It is rather a precondition governing the procedures that the respondents in civil matters and accused in the criminal cases be given reasonable opportunity to defend themselves.
Therefore, the delay in justice relates to the delay in actual deliverance of justice or passing of the final order into the matter after the round up of the entire proceedings in full conformity of the prescribed procedures in respect thereof.
In India, we find that the working of whole of the system is not satisfactory at all. As a result, there is an inordinate delay in the disposal of cases due to highly time consuming procedure.
The number of cases in the courts is also increasing day-by-day. The time taken on average case is more than four years.
The justice as such is becoming costlier, in terms of time and money. Since the citizens are unable to apply costly lubrication to the parts of mechanism attached to the system, their work is delayed and justice goes out of their reach. It is very shameful that as many as 30 million cases are pending in the Indian courts.
As a matter of fact, the system of law courts that we inherited from the British rulers has grown of age and needs modification, and these modifications should be such which suit our needs and convenience.
The modifications should aim at shortening the period of proceedings of the court, amendment in the rules and regulations governing court proceedings and simplification of the procedures, so that people’s faith in the legal system may not finish.
In order to do away with the over burden of the law courts, we should introd