The people of our country apparently continue to have faith in our judges and the justice delivery system—and if they did not, there would be chaos. But unfortunately, the faith has been shaken by events of the last couple of years and unless we are rescued from the quicksand through very quick corrective measures, all of us will find ourselves in the sinkhole.
There is no controversy that the biggest problem facing the judiciary is the number of pending cases—over three crores. Before even trying to resolve this problem, the question to be asked is: How does one define a ‘pending case’? Is a case instituted yesterday (a traffic challan) as much a pending case as one instituted twenty years ago (gang rape and murder) both not yet decided? Every law defines the words used in the statute and the court adjudicates on the interpretation of those words. But, we have not yet decided on the definition of a ‘pending case’ and therefore all cases in the courts, including yesterday’s undecided challan is a pending case. If we take the trouble of defining all necessary terms we will be able to better appreciate the magnitude of the problem of arrears.