Ours is an era of democracy. We are supposed have a system of justice based on the universal application of a rule of just law. Such a just rule of law would treat both rulers and the ruled alike. There would be absolutely no discrimination between any two individuals on the grounds of sex, race, caste or creed. Herein every individual would have an equal access to justice.
Regrettably, we Indians just brag we are a great democracy. Our reality is shameful . More than 66 years have passed off since we became a Republic . Yet we are miles away from ensuring justice to all our citizens. An authentic estimate is that at least five crore ( 50000000) cases are filed in our different courts every year. We do not have a sufficient number of judges to dispose the cases . As a result only two crore cases are being settled every year.
Additionally, the weaker sections of our society have little access to justice. Chief Justice of India J S Khehar lamented some time back , “Ours is a strange country. The bigger the criminal, the bigger is the outrage. As we have seen before that the convict in a terrorist crime who has failed up to the Supreme Court and also in his review, can get access to justice in a manner that we extend.. What about the victims .... what about the families which have lost their bread earner.... what about that acid attack victim who has been defaced and cannot survive the society ? I think about rape victims and their lives and I wonder why we don’t reach out to them.... Let us reach out to the victims. Make 2017 a year of the victims.”
Will our political leadership be alive to the needs of our judicial system ? Will it also introduce appropriate legislation to see to it that the weak have proper access to justice ? Given the behavioural pattern of our political elites in general , I think it would be naive to expect them to move forward . I would suggest citizens must assert . They must have an objective assessment of the predicament of the victims of atrocities. For this the citizens need not turn to or believe in politicians , officials or corporate media agents . Politicians and allies may have their own reasons to say what they do. We citizens must turn to the ground zero as our best source of information . Today we have the blessings of technology to get there . We can avail of it.
Besides, we citizens must insist on social, economic and political justice for all. In the Preamble of our Constitution we have resolved to ensure to all our citizens this kind of justice. Founding fathers of our Constitution were persons of wisdom. They were fully conscious that this kind of justice would automatically make legal justice accessible to all . They have proved correct . Seeking legal justice is no longer a problem to any empowered individual or group who once belonged to the depressed sections in our society . I am not aware if any victims of acid attack or rape today came from an empowered political, bureaucratic or economic family .
Time to heed the historic call of Martin Luther King, Jr: “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”