The constitution offers the foundation for the expertly crafted legal and judicial system in India.
The system incorporates the ‘common law system’ along with the statutory and regulatory law. A key feature is it’s foundation in the adversarial system, whereby a neutral judge listens to the two sides in a given case, then gives a judgment.
While the Indian judiciary goes on summer and winter vacations, as well as other leaves;
the judicial system seems to be crumbling under the weight of extensive corruption,
lack of transparency, controversial laws and pending cases.
Just like many other governmental institution, the judicial system in India is plagued by cases of corruption, ranging from the lower courts all the way to the Supreme Court. No wonder, almost half of all Indians believe the judiciary is corrupt
A number of scams reported lately include the 2G, CWG and Adarsh society scams, and several other societal atrocities. All such issues contribute to a poorly functioning judicial system.
This is a major concern, as even some lawyers and judges admit it’s an issue. For instance, retired CJI V.N. Khare openly stated, “Corruption in lower courts is no secret.”
The Right to Information Act seems completely out of the range of this judicial system.
It can’t get any clearer than a senior Supreme Court judge boycotting a meeting of the collegium (senior-most judges who decide on judicial appointments), due to “lack of transparency”.
Unfortunately, lack of transparency further worsens accountability issues and degrades quality of justice.
Beside the issues of corruption and lack of transparency, legal professionals face the added challenge of implementing controversial laws that do more harm than good.
The labor laws, in particular, present various obstacles to entrepreneurial pursuits.
For instance, the Industrial Disputes Act (1947) requires companies hiring more than 100 people to seek government approval before laying off even one of their employees. This creates a challenge for businesses, especially within fast-paced business environments, in executing quick employee redeployment.
The Dowry Law (Article 498A) has also presented further problems with allegations of many false claims. Despite low conviction rates, authorities arrest thousands of people annually, which is a sign of misuse of the law.
The law was meant as a tough anti-dowry measure to prevent dowry-related harassment and deaths of thousands of brides in matrimonial homes. However, the practice of dowry continues to thrive while the law tends to be misused.
The epidemic of pending cases in India’s judicial system is so bad that it would take 35 years to clear out, if judges closed 100 cases per hour without resting, day and night.
This is a major indicator of the inadequacy in the system. The problem with such a situation is that the poor are the ones who end up suffering.
Investors aren’t spared either.
Being ranked 178th out of a total of 189 countries on the Enforcing Contracts indicator negatively affects India’s ease of doing business.