Conditions of Indian District Courts
The District Courts exercise the jurisdiction over the matters in the districts. These are the courts of state government for every district or more districts aim in administering justice in India. A simple question always strikes our mind that what are the reasons for insufficient management of lower courts and what are the conditions of these courts. Basically, the condition of the district courts in India has developed time being in force but still, there are reasons for poor and inefficient working of district courts in India.
The operation of Indian District Judiciary system has been transforming since long due to judicial activism and dynamic nature of operating laws in India. Still the problems of the Districts Courts have not been eliminated fully. Let us discuss the conditions of Indian district courts:
1) Infrastructure and environmental conditions– The primary problem faced by most of the district courts of India is lack of proper infrastructure with improper sanitation and healthy environment. It is not only the courtrooms which are poorly maintained but the whole district courts. The court halls have only fans working with more or fewer generator facilities. There are district courts in India which have well-furnished infrastructure and air-conditioned court rooms. One of the committees of NCMS in 2012 proclaimed that planning on infrastructure an healthy environment will ensure good litigation, effective and efficient working of courts. The daily administration of courts will improve if these problems are improved.
2) Long wait for justice– There is no guaranteeing that when justice will be delivered. There is no one to look at the judicial administration. There are more than 20 million cases pending in the district courts of India. There is less number of judges over huge population to deal with dispute crises in civil and criminal matters. Adjournments and rescheduling problems which also leads to the long wait for justice. After the enforcement of speedy trial as a part of Indian Constitution, the problem has somehow solved the purpose.
3) Corruption– Corruption is indeed a practice followed by legal officers in resolving the disputes. It is spoiling the basic essence of litigation and judicialadministration in India. Such errors in the operation of justice create a hinderance for the fair justice system. Even the corrupt lawyers are freely practicing in the courts but there is no one to keep an eye upon. Hence, it makes the condition of district courts internally more delicate.
4) A less number of women judges: The conditions of districts courts have been same in this context since time immemorial. There is basically no reason to justify why there is so less number of women judges in the Indian Courts. The matters of family disputes, divorce issues, and maintenance etc can be more effectively dealt by a woman judge. Even very less number of women are being
recruited and promoted to upper courts.
5) The high burden on judges– The ratio of judges over the population is so indiscriminate that we can’t blame judges for the pendency of cases. There are so many pending cases due to such discrimination and it’s next to impossible for the judges to solve so many disputes in a single instance. Also due to political pressure, social influences and other reasons create a burden on judges to deliver justice accordingly.
6) Lawyers Tactics– Lawyers use so many tactics to delay the judgments because either they are not prepared for their arguments on time or they themselves don’t want that case should close soon as possible. The tricks used by them create an illusion in the minds of the judges while delivering the judgments. Hence, it leads to unreasonableness and unfair justice delivery.
7) Other conditions: There are other conditions that are still prevalent in the Indian District Courts such as:
· Strikes by Lawyers
· Speedy Trial still not prevalent
· Insufficient management by the lawyers
· Demanding unreasonable litigation fees by clients
· Misconduct by Lawyers
· Lack of Advocacy ethics
· Lawyers do not follow the Advocacy Act
8) Improper sitting facilities: Usually, there are less sitting facilities available outside the court rooms. People appearing in the courts and other people waiting outside face problems of sitting. They have to wait while standing outside the courts for long whatever the weather is. Precisely the waiting area should be clean, ventilated, infrastructure with washrooms and availability of drinking water. There should be a facility of entry of fresh air so that people do not face suffocation.
9) Earnings– Lawyers earn comparatively high than the judges. The judges are paid by the government at a fixed amount but it is not same with the lawyers. They charge fees from their clients as per their wishes and desires. This sometimes creates problems for clients. When you go to courts you can visually see people waiting outside the chambers of the lawyers to meet them and tell their problems.
Lawyers are not up to date on the timings and don’t frequently meet their clients. Demanding fees more than the client’s ability to pay in turn create blunder to even start the proceeding.
10) High aspiration and demand of Clients from Lawyers– Clients sometimes come with such irrelevant issues and problematically want their matter to be handled by the lawyers. They are even not ready to solve the dispute by negotiation or even mediation just in the urge of getting compensations in return. Lawyers here fail to fulfill their high aspirations.
11) Clients usually don’t tell entire truth to lawyers– it is very commonly seen a situation that almost clients do not tell the entire truth to their lawyer. Hiding the facts and even the evidence later creates a problem in the proceedings before the court.
12) Habitual of filing cases– Lawyers have examined that some people become special clients of them as they are in habit of filing cases against other in the interest of getting compensation. These people themselves create a situation so that the other party becomes prey. It mostly happens in case of civil suits.
13) Other reasons– Poor people themselves become a victim of accidents voluntarily so that they can get a good amount of money from the defendants. People hurt themselves and create false evidence against another party. Such habitual practices of people diminish the fairness of Indian justice system.
14) Parking Facilities- Most of the district courts of India does not have proper parking facilities. There is no separate parking for Judges, lawyers, and common people. There are so many district courts in India which even do not have the parking facilities. In the present era where traffic is a huge problem, having no parking facilities magnifies the problem of traffic jams and pollution control.
15) Open Prisons– The horrible working of the closed prison system in India is itself the worst condition on District Judicial system where a maximum number of population of the prisons are on remand. The open prisons were not in operation where the basic intent of judicial activism was a reformation of prisoners with less precautionary security. The establishment of open prison provided e fundamental rights to the prisoners like right to healthy environment, right to education, right to life and liberty etc. The problems faced by the prisoners in closed prisons are-
· Overcrowding prisons
· Lack of healthy and clean environment
· No speedy trials
· Lack of availability of medical treatment
· Prisoners are not paid wages for their work
· They are not allowed to meet their family members
· Fewer chances of reformation
· Prisoners are more prone to communicable diseases
· Fewer chances of bail
Such above mentioned problems give an indication to poor working of judicial mechanism. Almost half of the prisoners end up their lives due to lack of full trial facilities. People lose belief in the court proceeding to solve their disputes through legal means.
16) Women Lawyers– As comparative to men, there are so less number of women legal practitioners in the district courts of India. Women victims sometimes face difficulties in opening up with the male lawyers. Women do not feel comfortable in practicing law as a career due to many reasons. One of the main reason is that they have to deal with male criminals which for them is uncomfortable but the time has changed there are increasing numbers of females who are pursuing law as their careers.
1. It allows women to come to the court more confidently when there are women lawyers.
2. Even women lawyers inspire many young girls who want to pursue law
3. Delicate matters of sexual harassment, rape cases, dowry deaths and suicidal cases should also be dealt by women judiciary as well.
The number of cases is not always a problem in Indian District Judicial System. More often there are chances when lawyers do not appear in the courts and witnesses have been called upon. Witnesses wait for long and return back which obviously lead to delay in administering the Justice. This happens with litigants too. Lawyers keep on calling the witnesses to appear before the court but they don’t
come. This process keeps on going and the dates are subsequently given further which is a result of delayed decision making.
There has been various attempts made to eradicate and decrease the problems of Indian district courts but the success rate is not such high. There should be a fast track for the delicate cases to be resolved quickly by the judiciary. Right to speedy trial has to be protected with delicacy.
1. Adjournments should be given with reasonableness and care
2. Electricity, sanitation, air conditioners, washrooms and ventilation problems should be resolved in the district courts
3. Female lawyers and judges need to be promoted
4. Advocates should follow the Advocates Act, 1961
5. The problem of overcrowding prisons should be solved by establishing open prisons.
6. Judiciary need to play an active and participatory role in speedy trials
7. Corruption problem should be resolved
8. Right to information is a basic fundamental right of citizens. People should be informed about the court proceedings, trial formalities and legal consequences before filing suits.
9. Clients and lawyers both should maintain their relationship on good terms
10.Irrelevant issues should not be brought upon before the court
11.Negotiation and mediation techniques should be adopted and promoted
12.People must be aware of their rights and duties
13.Judiciary should not be always blamed for the ineffective working of the judicial system.
14.Parking facilities and other small issues should be solved accordingly.
By: Paavni Thareja, Raffles University