'Blame the men in black, not us'
A section of judicial officers says it is unfair to blame judges for delays in hearing and disposing of cases. Instead, it is the lawyers who have to share the blame for the delay in hearing of cases as they often come up with compelling reasons for not being able to appear in court.
“When advocates give reasons like the death of a relative or medical emergency to seek adjournments, we can’t verify the claim. As a human being, we have to trust them and show some sympathy,” says a judicial officer. “One of the most frequent reasons cited by advocates is that they are yet to study documents before they could examine the witness. If we do not give them time, they could imply the trial is not fair. So every judge, who wants to give a fair chance to both sides, would give adequate time for counsels to study their case,” says a trial court judge. Another factor contributing to delay in justice is court boycotts by lawyers.
“If counsels of both parties are absent, there is little meaning in conducting the hearing. A judge has powers to himself dispense with the witnesses. But the ultimate sufferer would be the litigants. So we abstain from doing so,” says a judge.
A major worry for judicial officers is that some advocates often brand as “unfriendly” judges who strictly enforce the provisions of CrPc that seeks speedy disposal of cases. Such judges often have to face the wrath of court boycotts, which would ultimately result in his/her transfer.
Former judges say better interaction between judges and the local bar association is the only solution. “In the meetings between the bar and judges, ways to avoid adjournments must be discussed,” says A Noor Ahmed, a retired district judge.