Judicial Delays

Journal of law, policy and globalization ISSN 2224-3240(Paper) ISSN 2224-3259(ONLINE) Vol 4,2012

Judicial Delays in India: causes and Remedies

Vandana Ajay Kumar

People’s expectations is that the Judiciary has failed to deliver justice expeditiously. This delay in delivery of justice is in fact one of the greatest challenges before the judiciary.

Delay in disposal of cases not only creates disillusionment amongst the litigants, but also undermines the very capability of the system to impart justice in an efficient and effective manner. Long delay also has the effect of defeating justice in quite a number of cases.

No fixed period for disposal: there is no time limited fixed either by any Act or Code within which the cases must be decided.

Role of Judges:

  • Lack of punctuality, laxity and lack of control over case-files and court-proceeding, attending social and other functions during working hours contribute in no small measure in causing delays in the disposal of cases.
  • Some judges are very liberal in granting adjournments.
  • Some judges are come to courts without reading case files, therefore, the lawyers have to spend a lot of time just to explain the facts of the case and legal points(s) involved therein. Therefore, they argue at length and all this leads to wastage of precious ‘Courts Time’. There is a great need for self improvement by judges.

Role of Lawyers:

  • Lawyers are known to take adjournments on frivolous grounds. With every adjournment the process becomes costly for the court and for the litigants; but the lawyers get paid for their time and appearance. More often then not, lawyers are busy in another court. They have taken up more cases than they can handle, hence, adjournments are frequently sought.
  • It is also true that lawyers do not prepare their cases.
  • It is seen that lawyers often resort or strikes.

Lawyers had no right to go on strike or give a call for boycott not even a token strike, will certainly discourage the lawyer to go on strike unless they really had a strong cause.

Directions that lawyers should not resort to strike except “in rarest of the rare cases” and instead, peaceful demonstrations should be held, such as wearing of the arm band, so that courts working is not affected. The Supreme Court held:-

The courts are under an obligation to hear and decide case brought before it and can not adjourn matters merely because lawyers are on strike……. That it is the duty and obligation of courts to go on with matters or otherwise it would be tantamount to becoming a privy to the strike….

Stating it in clear terms that any interference from any body or authority in daily administration of justice cannot be tolerated and that the court can and will take disciplinary action against an advocate for non appearance by reason of a call for strike or boycott it has been suggested (as per justice B.M. Shaw) that the advocates can get redressal.

So the need of the hour is that the lawyers must behave in responsible manner and restrain themselves from resorting to strikes etc.


The alarming situation calls for speedy remedial measures. These should be practical and effective. These reforms should be capable of providing speedy and efficient justice which is accessible to the common man. Equally important steps should be taken to enforce judiciary accountability and independence of the judiciary. Several law commission reports have made a case for many specific and practical judicial reforms. However, little has been done to address this growing crisis.

Urgent need for filling of old vacancies and creation of new posts.

Litigation should not be encouraged

Adjournment to be limited to emergencies cases. It is common sight for a popular lawyer to handle several cases every day which needs his presence in different courts. This forces him to focus on one or two and seek adjournments on others.

Judiciary is in crying need for similar reforms. But this is predicted upon the practicing lawyers involving whole-hearted in improving the entire process. Chief Justice Eqbal could focus on this vital element.

Quotes/Articles about failures/short coming of Judicial System in India

Justice delayed in Justice Denied.

  1. Backlog of 30 million cases in India. Common man gets cheated or assaulted or murdered his family will have to move heaven and earth to get justice which will ultimately be denied to them.
  2. Tied up for ‘VIP security’, convoys, attend to traffic holdups, escort under-trials to courts, do passport verifications etc.
  3. Charge- sheet are an example of verbal diarrhea in poor English. All that is required foe conviction is 1 witness who will stand firm.
  4. Once a bad judge is appointed he has to just sit tight and keep getting promoted. This is why the quality of judgements in lower and higher courts has consistently gone downhill. Mr. Arun Shourie’s book on this subject is a must read for anyone.
  5. Some Judgements are so bad that they either do not address the issue that is asked, or are self contradictory or are simply unimplementable. Believed that reserving judgements is a way of demanding inducements.

After all when the system has failed, it is but natural that people set right the injustice done to them as they have no-one to turn to.

Cases stretching for decades are UNACCEPTABLE. All trials must end In 3 months. Not just rape trials.

Have a transparent system to investigate corruption in the judiciary.

Expose corrupt judges and cops. Have the harshest penalties for those who betray public trust.

There needs to be a foolproof electronic way of transferring case related documents from lower to higher courts to save time, money and the prevent the possibility of destruction of evidence.

Author :Manekshaws



Indian prisons are meant to be reforming schools for the prisoners. By the corrupt practices of the officials, the prison have become factories turning out hardened criminals.

Court finds the accused as innocent, not guilty of crime & lets him free. However, the poor chap has suffered 36 months imprisonment for no fault of his.

As per law, no body not even the courts of law are legally empowered to punish anybody beyond the legal procedures, rules established. In this way, due to delay in our legal system, faulty bail procedures, thousands of under-trials are suffering in various prisons through India. Arew not the courts which remanded those accused to judicial custody responsible for this illegal act of excessive punishment? What punishment should be given to those judges?

Even within prisons, the number of prisoners per sq.ft area, no of doctors, hospital beds, medicines available, weight of food per day given to prisoners, are all less & much below the statuotary limits. The food, health care, living conditions of prisoners, under-trials are worse than pigs. The prison authorities are utterly corrupt, which has been brought into light again & again by the media. If a poor prisoner questions the illegal acts of the officials, he is subjected ,to 3rd degree torture, roughed up by rowdy prisoners on the instigation of the officials themselves. Many poor prisoners are suffering from health problems, many are dying due to lack of proper health care & food in the prisons.

The lower court judges must be punished for giving out wrong judgements, meating out injustice to innocents.

Need of the hour is to incorporate jury system or some outside monitoring system  to review cases as & when decided.

One of the basic reasons for delayed justice & worse prison conditions in India, is low number of judges, police personnel, higher rate of case adjournments and finally low amount of financial grants made by the government to judicial department/police department. The government states that it doesn’t have enough money to provide for judiciary & police. As a result, fundamental/human rights of innocent commoners are thwarted. The state governments & GOI,  is one of either parties in 75% of cases before various courts in India, it is the biggest litigant & is influencing the judiciary by controlling the grants, recruitment to judiciary & by enticing some with post-retirement postings.


5 to 20 years to get their cases settled through normal legal course.

There should be an even arrangement for the pending cases and new cases. The court remains closed for days just like school holidays which are nothing but an unnecessary luxury. With so much work pending, government should trim down the number of holidays and day offs. 

Blessed are they who hunger and thrist for justice, for they shall have their fill.

  • The Eight Beatitudes, the Bible


“Justice delayed is justice denied”. Judicial system has failed the country, almost 100% would agree.



People don’t trust the judicial system and the judicial system doesn’t care about the people.

Failure of the judicial system and with greed comes corruption.

Ab easier judicial procedure, approachable courts, better lawyers

Public good and speedy justice


“justice Delayed is Justice Denied”

  • 30 million cases clogging the system.
  • That it will take more than 300 years to clear the backlog of cases.
  • The cases take years for its final disposal, which would normally take few months time.
  • The decision must be delivered within a reasonable time. It is totally unfair if a suspected criminal waits for trial for years and is ultimately found innocent.
  • Pending cases in the Supreme Court number 30,000
  • In High Court over 33.79 lakh
  • In subordinate Courts over 2.35 crore
  • Much of this is due to shortage of judges.
  • The infrastructure of lower courts is very disappointing.
  • There is an urgent need to increase the number of judges specially at the local level for giving access to the ordinary people.
  • In developing countries the corruption is growing like cancer.
  • Hence baseless cases, which lead acquittal, also could come down. So, there should be coordination between police and prosecuting agencies. The early disposal of case also boosts the morals of police force and will save time, which would have been taken in producing arrestee to the court from time to time.

System of corruption

Lack of transparency

  • For the innocent, eventual acquittal is no compensation for the wreckage caused to their lives by the cruelty of the process. Delays arise from a variety of machinations indulged in by duty holders at all stages- during investigation, prosecution and trial. The poor quality of investigation is a major reason for delays in trials.