New Delhi, Nov 8 (PTI) Delhi High Court judge Manmohan Wednesday said the issues which are to be decided by central and state governments are not being addressed and everything is being left to the courts to decide.
He said a large number of public interest litigations are coming to courts which should not be in the domain of judiciary but courts have to grapple with them since there is no other solution and no citizen can be left remediless.
Justice Manmohan, who was speaking at one of the sessions in the 'DPIIT - CII National Conference on Ease of Doing Business', said there is a powerful school of thought that if you have more cases that means your institution is doing good work, more and more people are coming to that institution.
"Today you cannot deny that any major issue that arises goes to the courts. Why is it? Whether it is pollution or is related to some political issue that arises in this country, even gay marriages. Why is it coming to the court? "That's because the confidence that the court has amongst the public. They believe no other institution is willing to hear the public at large other than the court. They believe they have their say in court only," the judge said.
On the issue of huge pendency in courts, he said the real elephant in the room is the states and the Union of India.
"Today the situation is each and every matter where the Union of India or the states have to take a decision, they are not deciding and are leaving it to the courts to decide. Therefore, we are getting a huge number of matters on public interest litigation which should really be not within our domain," Justice Manmohan said.
He asked that how can one leave the citizen helpless if there is no decision that is coming and be it a small or big issue but no one can be left remediless.
"Can you imagine a dog menace issue is coming to the court because civic administration is not working and when people complain we are suffering and are children are suffering and are bitten by dogs, you can't leave him remediless. You tell the government to take a call but they will not take a call," the judge said.
During the session, he was asked by moderator Ajay Bahl, the Chairman of CII Task Force on Judicial Reforms, "do you think we can consider any kind of substantive improvement in the process of contract enforcement, expediting it and improving it, without addressing the issue of pendency which seems as elephant in the room".
Justice Manmohan said the major problem with regard to enforcement of contracts is the delays that take place in courts, there is no doubt about it but the silver bullet is not just the expeditious disposal.
"You must also realise what is the cause of delay. Other than the legacy issues, the real cause is that the litigation which is taking place is stemming from laws which are not in tune with the reality that exist on the ground level," he said.
He said all the sectors need to work together and there is no point of engaging in blame game.
In this atmosphere of mutual mistrust and mutual suspicion, the cause will suffer for which we are looking for a solution, the judge said.
He judge said several parties from abroad have chosen India for deciding their disputes which shows the confidence people have in Indian courts.
"It is not a slur that you have got a lot of pendency, it is also the confidence that this court is enjoying today," he said, adding that very challenging issues coming to courts today.
The other side of the picture is that the court is live and dealing with important issues, therefore, several issues which are in routine are put in backburner and there is a lot of pendency, he said.
Justice Manmohan also advocated for increasing the strength of judges, improving infrastructure and digitisation and to allocate more budgets.
"Every judge in this country has to deal with 70 to 80 matters on a daily basis. You go abroad and they will tell that they deal with 70 to 80 matters in a year. And we do it on a daily basis. It is absolutely a log jam," he said.
He further said the confidence that the public has in courts is huge and internationally also the confidence in Indian system is good but this problem will have to be resolved by increasing on the demand side.
He also complemented the government for bringing in progressive laws which are little ahead of times.
Now they are also planning to change penal laws so very forward looking laws are coming, the judge said. PTI SKV ZMN