CJI airs concern over delay in justice delivery

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Chief Justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir Sunday said a major problem being faced in delivery of criminal justice was delay "where the entire process takes almost 15-16 years".

Delivering Justice P D Desai memorial lecture here on 'Administration of Criminal Justice', Justice Kabir said, "Today a major problem is delay where the entire process, from the time when an offence is registered to the stage of final conviction, takes almost 15 to 16 years."

"I hope everybody involved in the process would perform their duty to expedite the wheels of justice," he added.

Elaborating the challenges in administration of criminal justice, the CJI said, "....this (delay) is the main thing which bothers judiciary. And because of inordinate delay, sometimes we see angry reaction from public feeling that something should be done immediately."

"One such incident took place on December 16 last year in Delhi. First reaction was let us set up fast track courts for the offences against women and girls," he said citing the incidence of gangrape in a moving bus, which created widespread outrage.

"Something like this happens and people start reacting. It is a knee-jerk reaction...But one cannot blame any one part of the system. Look at the large population we have, which is at present 1.2 billion and it is increasing," he added.

"Where do we stand with regard to the Judge-Population ratio? In USA, there are 125 judges for one million citizens and in India, we have six judges for one million," he said.

Chronologically describing the evolution of Criminal Justice system in India, the Chief Justice observed that "there is a change in the mindset". In this regard, he cited the example of the global 'One Billion Rising' campaign "to make people aware of the rights of women and their right to be protected".

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