The cornucopia of Acts as well as laws based on which the land’s judicial system is delivering judgements in the form of sentences after hearing presentations before the judges by legal practitioners, framed both before the country became independent of colonial rule and subsequently, is unarguably fail-safe in safeguarding the principle that no innocent person in the country, facing accusation, is awarded punitive sentence and also no wrong- doer goes unpunished. The system comprises the Supreme Court of India, 24 High Courts, Subordinate Courts with specific jurisdictions, Tribunals, Appellate Boards, District and Sessions Courts. A visit to the premises of Law Courts in Mysuru nowadays is sure to bewilder any lay person who has no clear concept of the laws of the land, its arbitrators in black coats and gowns, cost of litigation and inordinate delays in seeing the end of any case, one way or the other. The city reportedly hosts more than 3,000 legal practitioners.
The nation’s judiciary is apparently upholding the lofty principle that nobody is guilty of committing any unlawful act until he or she is proved to be so. Proving the guilt is for the prosecuting lawyer, most of the time getting outwitted by the defence attorney. The former gets his pay cheque in the usual course while the latter makes his fat buck for the help in getting scot-free. Thereby hangs a tale.
The freedom movement lasting several decades witnessed participation of the land’s masses following a multiplicity of life’s callings, out of whom lawyers constituted a large presence. The lawyers taking part in that movement went to jail themselves while their cohorts in the profession in our days are doing their best to help the accused flock to remain out of jails. In this context, one is obliged not to close one’s ears while the judiciary’s public image is none-too-praiseworthy, given judicial corruption, deliberate delay in deciding cases, unfazed by the mounting number of pendency of law suits that has numerically crossed the mark of three crore across all courts of the country.
While the slow-motion-style of the functioning of the courts dealing with civil suits is a time-honoured feature of the country’s judicial system, the time-frame that the system has given to itself in deciding even serious criminal suits, particularly taking years to deliver judgements in cases involving anti-national rogue elements is appalling and amazing. One has strong reason to observe: Law is an ass, but it is just not kicking in. Celebrated English writer Charles Dickens realised this as far back as 1838.