Wednesday, October 8, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Time to restore people’s faith in the judiciary

The concern voiced in the editorial “Waiting for justice” (Oct 1) over the criminal delay in dispensing justice brings to my mind the remarks of a celebrated US Judge, Justice Holme: “Denial of justice through delay is the biggest mockery of law”. Evidently, clearing the huge case backlog and ensuring faster justice are the most vital administrative and social obligations of the Centre and the states as they are linked with peace, tranquility and maintaining the rule of law in society.

There is no denying the correlation between arrears and the strength of the judiciary. The rapid rise in the number of pending cases in the Supreme Court and the High Courts has to some extent been aided by the government’s casual attitude towards filling judicial vacancies. At present the judges to the High Courts and the Supreme Court are appointed by the Centre which takes its own time in finalising its choices. The judiciary must have a say in determining the strength of the courts and should have the powers to fill the vacancies. For if justice delayed is justice denied, it is the judiciary that will be accused of timelags and case arrears and the people’s faith in the judicial system will be undermined.

It may, however, be recognised that the phenomenon of pending cases has to do no less with lawyers and litigants than with the judiciary. At present, the Supreme Court receives all kinds of cases and not merely those that call for the ultimate interpretation of law and the Constitution. It is flooded with suits that range from frivolous appeals to complex public interest litigation. Access to higher judiciary is often used, not so much to get justice as to delay it. The real remedy for the litigation explosions in the country lies in the Supreme Court evolving a set of guidelines on what cases to entertain and what to reject in quick time. It is the duty of the courts to discourage the lawyers for using the judicial process for delaying justice through appeals, adjournments and postponements.

There is an urgent need for raising the legal profession to a higher level of excellence. President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam’s lament that there is too much law and too little justice is well-conceived.

K.M. Vashisht, Mansa



The editorial “Waiting for justice” appaluding the President’s noble passion for speedy justice and his compassion for lakhs of suffering litigants who have lost all hopes that they would ever get justice during their present life deserves to be taken seriously. Sufferers in this dialatory process of justice are those who are running towards their final end, but justice is eluding them callously. This is a matter of grave concern for all the luminaries who have sympathy for human miseries.

It was during March 2003 that the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court, reiterating the earlier noble announcement of the Chief Justice of India, made a very laudable pronouncement that the cases of senior citizens would get priority and would be listed for hearing even on out-of-turn basis, so that these persons may get justice expeditiously. This gave a new lease of life to many senior citizens who are crossing 70 or 75 years of age. But the bureaucracy in the High Court has paid no heed to this noble pronouncement of the Chief Justice and not a single case of any senior citizen has been listed for hearing on priority basis. This has undermined the sanctity the Chief Justice’s declaration, as if he is an ineffective angel fluttering his luminous wings in void. The senior citizens are still waiting for justice with broken hearts.

Now when the President has expressed the same desire, the Punjab and Haryana High Court would hopefully take some concrete steps and issue necessary directives to all the officers concerned in the High Court and lower courts to give priority to the pending cases of senior citizens.

Pramod Kumar Sinha, Kurukshetra


President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has highlighted the plight of lakhs of litigants in seeking justice. Clearly, the lengthy legal process and manipulation of laws have deprived poor litigants of prompt justice.

Mobile courts will be of little help unless drastic changes are effected. Fast track courts should be set up as early as possible in 14 states as directed by the Supreme Court. The Lok Adalat experience is not bad. In fact, this needs to be popularised. Some hard work is necessary on the part of the advocates, judges and officers to expedite the disposal of cases and win the confidence of the teeming millions.

Rakesh Narula, Bathinda


Singer dies unsung

While the media is going ga-ga over the 75th birthday of Lata Mangeshkar for her contribution to film music, the death of a well-known singer who enthused the soldiers of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s I.N.A with his “Kadam kadam badhaye ja...” has gone unnoticed. Jagmohan died in Mumbai in the second week of September without a word being said in his memory.

Jaganmoy Mitra (his original name) became Jagmohan when Gandhiji gave him this name. His association with Gandhiji and Netaji is reflected in his two albums, ‘Gandhiji ki jai’ and ‘Netaji ki jai’. On August 15, 1947, when India became independent, his songs were played from the Red Fort. Tagore associated Jagmohan with composing the music of “Jana Gana Mana...” When riots broke out in Noakhali in 1946, he went round singing and raising funds for the riot victims. He met Jayaprakash Narayan in jail during the Emergency, and overwhelmed the Loknayak with his patriotic songs.

His unique style of singing brought him the title of ‘Sursagar’ in 1945. Before him, only Pankaj Mullick had been honoured with this title. Tagore songs and lyrics of Nazrul Islam sung by Jagmohan made his name a household word in Bengal. Besides songs of patriotic zeal, he also excelled in singing romantic songs. “Mujh ko hai tum se pyar kiyon...”, “Ek baar muskura do...”, “Us raag ke payal mein jo soya hai jaga do...” are some of his songs that can be called milestones in the history of Hindi geet singing.

Yet this singer who had been out of the limelight for some years, passed away unsung. A reference to his death in a newspaper some days after his death did not even mention the day of his death. Surely, we do have short memories.

Jaswant Singh, Chandigarh


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