Effectiveness of the Legal and the Judicial Systems

While the complicated and confusing laws should give way to fulll-proof legislations that would be least likely to be misused, the judicial system must become effective enough to prevent further erosion of ethics in public life. An unethical society’s decline is bound to lead to its inevitable fall. History is testimony to the fact that no corrupt society has ever flourished. Former Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, had lamented that the inability of India’s judicial system to deliver speedy justice had itself become the source of much injustice. Judicial action must be fast and effective. Rules for judicial proceedings should make the disposal of cases time-bound. Frequent adjournments should not be permitted and the performance of judicial officers should be judged on the basis of the perspicacity of their judgments and efficiency in their working. Govern¬ment investigative agencies should be taken to task for dilatory procedures and as far as possible, computerization of cases and records and other modern management techniques should be introduced in the judicial system. Besides, continuous and vigorous inspection should be undertaken of High Courts by the Supreme Court and of the lower courts by the High Courts. A concurrent administrative audit of judicial institutions can help in enhancing their effectiveness. Criminal justice system can be considered effective redressal mechanism only if criminal case are disposed of quickly. Presently, in the Indian courts, including the special courts for hearing anti-corruption cases, the quantum of pendency is high. It might be a rational step to introduce shift system in the courts. In the second shift, retired judges and judicial officers whose reputation is high, may be appointed on a contractual basis. The performance of special courts that have been constituted under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988 should also be reviewed with a view to make these institutions more efficient and effective. These could be made real fast track courts. An alternative judicial system in the form of administrative tribunals could also be strengthened. During the British rule, an awareness of the importance of curbing cor¬ruption through legal means had become manifest through Section 161 of the Indian Penal Code of 1860, which defines corruption as the acceptance of any gratification whatever, other than legal remuneration, as a motive or reward for doing or forbearing to do any official act or for showing or forbearing to show favour or disfavour to any person, or rendering or attempting to render any service or disservice to any person. Thus, bribe-taking and favouritism were treated as the main corrupt activities under the Indian Penal Code. The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 supplemented the earlier legal provisions conceming corruption. Thus, the PCA can be viewed as a piece of legislation the application of which to the offences embedded in the Indian Penal Code provisions invites a ‘tight¬ened approach.’ The Act of 1947 narrowed the requirements to proving motives behind corruption. Section 5 (1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, defines the criminal misconduct of a public servant in the discharge of his duties in terms of illegal gratification, accepting favours in exchange of undue official favours, dishonest and fraudulent misappropriation of official property, obtaining pecuniary advantages far above the official position and having property disproportionate to the legitimate in¬come. International experience shows that strict legal, judicial and adminis¬trative control measures can help in mitigating corruption. If corruption is made a high-risk activity and if a corrupt person has substantial chances of being caught, punished and even jailed, such risks are bound to act as deterrents to corruption.

It would also be worthwhile if we could incorporate the nine principles of public service delivery into our system as is being followed in the UK. Every public service should: 1. Set standards of service. 2. Be open and provide full information. 3. Consult and involve. 4. Encourage access and promotion of choice. 5. Treat all fairly. 6. Put things right when they go wrong. 7. Use resources effectively. 8. Innovate and improve. 9. Work with other providers. These measures will help redress the grievances of citizens relating to delivery of public services at least to some extent. Today the citizen is unaware or helpless in matters of the service provided. He is unable to get appropriate service even though he is paying for it. With the rising expectations of the people the demand will exert enough pressure on the system. It is better if the managers of the system feel the pressure and initiate reforms.

Anti-Corruption Departments Presently, at the central as well as the state levels, there are a number of investigating agencies dealing with cases of corruption. Prominent among them are the Central Vigilance Commission, State Vigilance Commissions, the CBI, Anti-corruption Departments, etc. There is a clear lack of co¬ordination among the myriad investigating agencies engaged in anti¬corruption operations. Hence, there should be set up a nodal agency to coordinate the functioning of parallel investigative bodies. Such a body, as the Vohra Committee hoped, would help muster adequate evidence against the accused through a coordinated functioning of these agencies. Certain reforms In this respect are in the offing while others have been initiated. There are frequent delays by competent government authorities in according permission to investigation agencies to prosecute the accused public employees as per legal provisions. This unnecessarily lengthens the process of prosecution. Sometimes, such permission is even denied to the prosecution agencies. For iristance, the Central Bureau of Investigation, responsible for investigating cases under the Prevention of Corruption.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *