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Indian Judicial system, can the poor expect fair Judgement?

"Mankind must either give themselves a law and regulate their lives by it or live no better than the wildest of the wild beasts." As this is rightly stated by Plato we need laws and an ensured justice for our peaceful co-existence. Different countries evolved their own judicial systems, apt to them based on their needs and requirements. India Judicial System is one such, which is one of the oldest judicial systems in the world today. During the imperialism era, as India was under British rule for over 200 years, its legal system is largely based on the British Legal system. The credit goes to Macaulay for codifying Indian laws, making them more civilized in nature. With the changing times, we also are modifying our legal system to be relevant to our time to some extent.

We have an independent and integrated type of judiciary empowered to administer both the union and state laws. In a vast country, like, ours, with diversified population divided on social, political and economical grounds, the ultra rich resort to established law firms and the bourgeois to individual lawyers who charge at market prices. The poor on the other hand couldn't afford the conventional means to seek justice and as a result they get exploited which at some point lays the foundation to the emergence of the extremist forces who take law in to their hands.

Impartial and Unbiased Judiciary

With the present judicial system that is susceptible to the interests of the elite, the justice needs of the poor are largely ignored. This is because of the judicial ignorance of the poor, discrimination and disrespect meted out to them, lack of moral and ethical value on the part of lawyers, judges and people involved in the process of their exploitation, though the constitution bestowed on its citizens equal status and opportunity as well as equal justice. There is rampant corruption in the judiciary as well. Some are of the opinion that morals, ethics and honesty do not ensure their prosperity. When the government is providing them with all the perks it is the moral responsibility of the judges to be unbiased and impartial.

Moreover we cannot generalize the justice needs of the poor as we have diversified population. Still their problems are limited to food, shelter, clothing, health, education and work. The government sponsored schemes weren't effective enough to access the remote places and to cater their needs throughout the country. Many poor are getting arrested in false crime and they do not even know why they are being arrested. The problems such as land rights of the poor farmers when they don't have valid documents, water and forest rights, SC's and ST's atrocities and their displacement, fair market to the small and marginalized farmers' produce, the traditional knowledge and their IPR etc., should be redressed.

Generate Legal Awareness among Illiterate and Poor People

The Legal Services Authorities Act enacted recommended alternate justice delivery system to court-centric judicial system and the legal aid provided through it was a fiasco as the poor were illiterate and unaware of their rights and judicial procedures, failure in accessing the remote places and the lawyers do not have right values, attitude and competent enough to cater their justice needs.

The Bilaspur Declaration judicial workshop came with an alternate justice delivery system that proposed the setting up of legal offices at local levels at regular distances and the lawyers should be given subsidies on the offices. But to make it possible, the law schools should add the extra curriculum of justice needs to the poor with morale and they should be interned on the same for a specific period before they are awarded their degrees. For this, the faculty should be trained accordingly. And subsequently the poor get aware of the judicial system when it is in their reach.

Judicial Vacancy Crisis

The Lok Adalats, Family Courts and PILs were partly effective with allied problems to be solved. The vacancy crisis in the judicial system should be addressed by recruiting the judges at regular periods through National Judicial Services. The maxim "Justice delayed is Justice denied" is in commotion but it is also said that "Justice hurried is justice buried" and should not be forgotten. An effective research agency should be established to come forward with laws empowering the poor, the time bounded limits required for solving cases based on their type and criteria. An Independent Investigating Agency should also be established and adequately empowered for ensuring quick justice with proper investigation of the facts. This may help to solve the stagnated lakhs of cases. The NGO's and the Civil Society should actively participate in monitoring and auditing their performance.

When such promising initiatives are utilized to address the issues arouse in the delivery of the justice arena and when the government together with NGO's, Civil Society and people co-operate each other in this regard, we can expect the poor to get justice ensured to them in social, civil, political and economic aspects to achieve peace and harmony in the society.

Aneesha Resham

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