What is the meaning of the Indianisation of the Judiciary and what is the need for Indianisation?
In the words of Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana “Very often our justice delivery poses multiple barriers for the common people. The working and the style of courts do not sit well with the complexities of India. Our systems practice rules being colonial in origin may not be best suited to the needs of the Indian population. The need of the hour is the Indianisation of our judiciary”.
Meaning of the term “Indianisation of Judiciary”
N.V. Ramana, the Chief Justice of India (CJI), has stated that the country’s legal system must “move away from colonial standards maintained in the country’s judicial system and towards an “Indianization” of the same.”
As “Indianization” is an ongoing process, it is essential to dive deeper into the matter of reforms still required in the legal system, as addressed by the CJI, and to attempt to comprehend what is meant by “Indianization of the judiciary.”
To fulfill the commitment to Indianising the judiciary system, the top priority should be to streamline the delivery of justice. Making justice delivery more open, accessible, and efficient is important.
Access to justice is frequently hampered by procedural barriers. The average person should not feel intimidated while approaching the legal system and authorities. He shouldn’t be afraid of the judges or the court when entering it and should be capable of speaking the truth.
Also read: History of Indian Judiciary
Judges’ opinion on Indianisation of Judiciary
Former CJI P.N. Bhagwati’s statement- In the M.C. Mehta vs Union of India, 1986: According to Justice P.N. Bhagwati, we no longer need the support of a foreign legal system. However, we must develop our own legal system. We are undoubtedly ready to accept illumination from whatever source it may come.
Justice (retired) S.A. Bobde’s statement- In Justice K.S.Puttaswamy(Retd) vs Union Of India, 2018: he observed that “even in the ancient and religious texts of India, a well-developed sense of privacy is evident. Arthashastra prohibits entry into another person’s residence, without the owner’s consent.
Justice S. Abdul Nazeer’s statement- In his opinion “this colonial judicial system is not appropriate for the Indian population. To decolonize the Indian legal system, the Indianisation of the judiciary is urgently required.
Past Recommendations by various Reports and Commissions
S. R. Das Committee, 1951: A committee should be established by the Indian government to develop a plan for an all-India bar and to amend the Indian Bar Councils Act to bring it into conformity with the new Constitution.
Law Commission, 1958: The 14th report of the Law Commission, published in 1958, made the initial recommendation for the All India Judicial Services (AIJS). The Commission suggested creating an appellate tribunal or tribunals at the Center and in the States, presided over by a legally qualified Chairman and with experienced civil servants serving as members.
Malimath Committee, 2000: The Justice Malimath Committee was established to make recommendations for reform in India’s criminal justice system. The existing system, in the Committee’s opinion, “weighed in favor of the accused and did not appropriately focus on justice to the victims of crime.”
Improvements are done in the Legal System
Virtual court system: In these unprecedented times, the ordinary judicial procedures in our Indian courts have either been postponed or conducted virtually through videoconferencing. This action by the judiciary was very beneficial, which handled more than 75 lakh cases.
E-Courts portal: It is a one-stop solution for all parties involved, including litigants, advocates, governmental organizations, police, and common citizens. An individual can readily access these services through this portal as it has been built to support many languages.
E-filing: E-filing, usually referred to as electronic filing, is a service that enables online case filing. It has been shown to be successful in helping councils and clients save time, money, and travel expenses.
National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG): The statistics of cases pending at the national, state, District, and individual court levels are now available to the general public, academics, researchers, and the general public.
AI-based SUPACE Portal: In May 2020, the Supreme Court introduced the judicial system’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based portal, called “SUPACE,” with the goal of assisting judges with their legal research.
Interoperable Criminal Justice System (ICJS): The Interoperable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) is a project of the e-Committee that aims to transfer data and information easily from one platform to the various components of the criminal justice system, including courts, police, jails, juvenile homes, and forensic science laboratories.
Need for Indianisation of Judiciary
Lengthy Judgements in Foreign Language: Judgements and Pleadings in English (a language alien to them) make it difficult for them to understand what is written in the petitions and don’t have the awareness of their fundamental rights. The lengthy judgments further complicate the position of litigants.
British Origin of Indian Judiciary: The origins of India’s current judicial system may be linked to the Colonial system, which was more or less constructed from the perspective of the master servant than from the perspective of the public. This way of operating and the manner in which courts are structured do not fit well with India’s complexities.
Unavailability of Judges: In Europe, there are 7200 judges per million people, compared to only 78 in India now, which increases the number of cases that are pending.
Extremely Less Representation of Women in Higher Judiciary: 39 years after the Supreme Court’s establishment, Justice Fatheema Beevi was appointed as the first female judge in SC history in 1989. Only 10 women have since been appointed as judges by the supreme court and only 11% of judges on High Courts are women.
Pendency and disposal: More than 3.53 crore cases are still pending in the Indian judicial system. According to a recent statement made by a judge, the judiciary would need 100 years to fill all the open positions and eliminate the backlogs even if no new cases were filed. The judiciary’s reputation has suffered as a result of delayed judgments.
Low strength of Police Force: The size of the police force in the nation falls far short of international standards. Law and order in a state will undoubtedly suffer from the police force’s low strength, and the only victims are the general public.
The goal of the Indianisation of the judiciary initiative is to include a larger population of Indians in the system, rather than drastically altering it to match what historians and anthropologists may define as Indian tradition or culture. The core requirements of a good judicial administration are accessibility, affordability, and speedy justice. These requirements cannot be met unless and until the justice delivery system is made accessible to everyone in a timely way and at a reasonable cost.
Therefore, to enhance and strengthen the Indian justice delivery system, continual formative assessment is essential.
Article Written By: Priti Raj