Home » Subject » Essay » Why India needs judicial reforms?

Why India needs judicial reforms?


The Indian democracy, being the largest in the world, is upheld by its judicial system. While the source of the judiciary’s power is the constitution, its strength comes from the faith of Indian citizens. Lack of faith would lead to chaos, where people would hesitate to, if at all, approach courts in pursuit of justice. The prevalence justice in our society is highly dependent on the judiciary, which is why its efficiency is integral to the success of the social order of India. As long as the citizens of India believe in the mechanisms and integrity of courts, the judiciary remains the interpreter of laws and the determinant of social justice that it should be. Unfortunately, there are issues that restrict the reach of our laws to all Indian citizens.

One of the most prominent concerns our country is facing is the sizable backlog of cases in courts. There has been an accumulation of cases in the Supreme Court, in the 24 High Courts and in subordinate courts. As of August 2018, the National Judicial Data Grid indicated a logjam of almost 2.8 crore cases in courts. This issue can primarily be attributed to a shortage in judges. The number of judges appointed all over India is far less than the total capacity of judges approved.

The requirement for judicial reforms is highlighted by the fact that the limited supply of judges to cater to the vast demand for the attention of courts by accumulating cases has led to a rise in the figurative price of justice. Those who approach courts not only incur the litigation costs, but also spend a large amount of time in wait. As William E. Gladstone said, “Justice delayed is justice denied”. Furthermore, there is a possibility that an increase in the efficiency of the judicial system could curb crime rates. The proximity of penalty for committing a crime that is brought by judicial efficiency would have the psychological effect of deterring crime.

The independence of the judiciary is integral to the structure of our country. However, past situations coming under scrutiny have proved that even the judiciary may be prone to corruption. Judges who can be influenced by politics may create prejudice in courts, despite the principles of natural justice that demand trials without any bias whatsoever.

Corruption within courts makes the integrity and fairness of the judiciary questionable.

Judicial overreach is another issue that calls for reform. A past example of overreach that has been criticized is when Supreme Court ruled that operators with cancelled 2G licences must stop their services. The line between the judiciary and legislature must not be blurred. It is crucial to distinguish clearly between beneficial judicial activism and detrimental overreach to sustain the organs of the country and maintain their respective functions.

Above are the main reasons that indicate the need for judicial reforms in India. Possible solutions are as follows:

  1. Measures should be introduced to promote transparency in proceedings to avoid bias. Former Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam once stated in an interview that the best way to tackle corruption in courts is through grievance petitions before the Chief Justice of respective high courts and the CJI, by litigants.
  2. More judges must be appointed in courts. The Supreme Court struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) act in 2015, declaring it unconstitutional. A renewed version of this idea and goal could help effectively appoint more judges. If the shortage of judges and courtroom facilities were suitably addressed, the logjam of cases could be cut down with the increase in efficiency. Competence is key. Appointed court officials must have a good level of qualifications and skill to ensure legal disputes are resolved expeditiously.
  3. There should be an established mandatory pre-litigation process in place to discourage frivolous litigation to conserve the court’s time.
  4. An independent executive body could be set up solely to ensure the enforcement of judgements issued by the court, to improve faith in its effectiveness.

- Sharanya Sanjay