Judicial Economy - When injustice prevailed

Judicial Economy - When injustice prevailed

Judicial economy, defined as the efficiency of the courts to deliver justice, even when the resources are scarce. The very term has redefined itself multiple times in the history of independent India, where judges have often sold their soul to the system and sometimes for economic gain. The judiciary which has been freed from any executive and parliament to deliver justice to people and protect the constitution, has at multiple occasions misused the powers and surpassed their ambit to do injustice to the nation and its citizens. 

Srikant Shukla v/s SDM Jabalpur was one such horrific case in the judicial history of India, when judges especially then Chief Justice YV Chandrachud, whose bench ruled that the government can take away all the liberties of citizens during the emergency and that the life and liberty of citizens will be at the mercy of the state. The only dissenter, Justice HR Khanna, who asked a question to the then Attorney General Niren De, “what if the police officer killed someone based on personal animosity, will there be any remedy?” to which Niren De replied, “not as long as the emergency lasts.”

Indian Judiciary is known for being delayed in delivering justice, affirming the saying of, ‘justice delayed is justice denied.’ With hundreds of thousands of cases pending in various courts and accused roaming free, some even die before justice is served. One such example is the case of anti-Sikh riots in Delhi, in which senior Congress leader Sajjan Singh was named the prime suspect. Indian courts took years in giving justice to thousands of innocent Sikhs who were the victims of his criminal conspiracy.

One other famous case of delay in justice is the Hashimpura Massacre. The incident took place on or around May 22, 1987 near Meerut, Uttar Pradesh, during the 1987 Meerut communal riots. Allegedly 19 personnel of the Provincial Armed Constabulary rounded up 42 youths from the Hashimpura mohalla (area), shot them and dumped them in a canal. A few days later, the dead bodies were found and a case of murder was registered. In 2000, 16 out of 19 accused surrendered while 3 died (natural or other deaths, not in police custody) during the interrogation. In 2002, the case was transferred to Tees Hazari Court in Delhi on the orders of the Supreme Court of India.

On 21 March 2015, all 16 men accused were acquitted by Tis Hazari Court due to insufficient evidence. The Court emphasised that the survivors could not recognise any of the accused PAC personnel. On October 31, 2018, the Delhi High Court convicted the 16 personnels of the PAC and sentenced them to life imprisonment, overturning the trial court’s verdict.

Later in 2019, in Hyderabad, a 26-year-old veterinary doctor was gang-raped and killed. The police acted very fast after huge public outrage and caught the accused on the basis of pieces of evidence found in CCTV cameras. Later 4 accused were killed in a police encounter when they tried to abscond. This whole event raised the ears of the Human Rights groups and civil society. The reason, extra-judicial killing is not an answer to any crime in a society where the rule of law has been established by the constitution and people are bound to follow it.

While it is the duty of the police to ensure that justice is served, they must not cross the line and kill any accused in any which way. The police officer involved in the extra-judicial killings of the 4 accused also was involved in another extrajudicial killing of the same manner. But what was more concerning is that, Indian courts did not take any concrete actions to ensure that police must not indulge in extrajudicial killings of any accused or anyone proven guilty and instead let the law take its course.

With all these cases and many more which have gone unnoticed, the concept judicial economy has been completely ignored by the judiciary. In the times when people are distrusting the judiciary more than ever, it is important that principles of judicial economy shall be implemented to easy access to justice to everyone.

NOTE: This website or anyone associated with it does not condone any violence against man, woman, animal or any living thing. We stand with justice and equality. This article is only for the purpose of knowledge.

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