India has the most Constructive Constitution. It contains 12 Schedules and 395 Articles which is a shadow of the American jurisprudence with the enlighten theory of democracy. The preamble is the heart of our Constitution, this helps us follow the straight path but, is there any practical approach connecting us with the reality.
The reality is that in India we have almost 3.2 crores pending cases in our courts wherein 1 crores are 5 years or older. India may have the most clogged justice system, and interestingly, it is the government that is hindering the system. Over 52% of cases out of the 3.2 crores, 1.6 crores cases is that of government. These 1.6 crores frivolous cases, which are of no serious purpose, has been increasing the courts’ burden and cost.
The Supreme Court of India itself called these cases, ‘frivolous’ and all courts pointing at the government for wasting the judiciary’s precious time. As a lawyer, I have a thought of concern with this article and more importantly, I know the value of the case that we took with regard to the precious time of the courts.
A bunch of cases, related to the taxation matter, had been dismissed by the Supreme Court in December 2017. The Court dismissed it against the government, and the government again brought similar cases before the court, and this was again dismissed in March 2018. The Supreme Court fined the Government one lakh rupees for wasting its time. This mean,s the government does indulge in litigation that clogs the Courts.
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The Economic Survey 2017- 2018, focuses on the need to address the issues of pendency, delays and backlogs in the appellate and judicial arenas towards ‘Ease of Doing Business’. These issues, hamper dispute resolution and contract enforcement, discourages investment, stalls projects, hampers tax collection, stresses taxpayers and escalates the legal cost.
The Survey attempts to make a preliminary inquiry, highlighting the developments based on new data, which it says are simple and stark. A high number of delays and pendency of economic cases in the Supreme Court, Economic Tribunals, and Tax department are taking a severe toll on the economy.
Delays and pendency are caused by the increase in the overall workload of the judiciary, due to the expanding jurisdictions and use of injunctions and stays; in the case of tax litigation, this stems from government persisting litigation, despite high rates of failure at every stage of the appellate process. The courts and government acting together can considerably improve this situation.
The Economic Survey also suggests that the Government should consider including efforts and progress made in alleviating pendency in the lower judiciary as a performance-based incentive for the states. Expenditure should be prioritized for filing, service and other delivery related issues that tend to cause maximum delays. However, the review cautions that building additional judicial capacity may not be effective unless existing capacity is fully utilized.