Almost improve thesituation. But, in spite of thebest efforts

Almost after three decades after Supreme Courtdeclared right to speedy trialas a fundamental right, being implicit in the broad sweep and contentofArticle 21 of the Constitution, the situation with regard to pending cases hasin actually worsened instead of improvement. The Indian courts have notbeen making the requisite efforts to improve thesituation. But, in spite of thebest efforts on the part of the judiciary, there is noimprovement in thenumber of pending cases or in the number of years for whicha case has toremain pending; on the other hand, there has been a continuing trendoffurther deterioration over the years. The main culprit is thegrosslyinsufficient number of judges at all levels to match the ever-growingnumberof cases which keep coming before the courts for their disposal yearafteryear while the existing ones never appear to be getting reduced, despitethe fact that the annual disposal rate of cases by courts has improved overtheyears as comparable to the annual number of fresh cases coming tocourts.Theblame lies mainly on the executive, the Governments at the Central andStatelevels, for not setting up sufficient number of courts citing the reason oflack offundsandillustration would show the reality.The Government can spare a giant amount of about Rs. 2,45,000on oilsubsidiesevery year, both explicitand implicit subsidies to the consumers,even if we forget substantial amountsspent on other subsidies, such asfertilizer subsidy, food subsidy, etc., on otheravoidable expenditures; but theGovernment is not able to find a meager amountof Rs. 1426 crore per yearwhich is what isrequired to approximately double the strength of judiciary inIndia! Even thisamount of Rs. 1426 crore per annum, calculated reportedlyusing the number ofadditional judges required as per the estimate of theChief Justice of India, isnecessary only if the salaries of judges are increasedsubstantially. To say that the Government lacks financial resources for suchapaltry amount for such an important task is nothing but insult to thecountry, one ofthe largest economies in the world. And, yet, the Governmentdithers on settingup new courts. Such being the situation, what is wrong ofone draws theirresistible conclusion that the Government is simply notinterested to have anefficient judiciary.The unfortunate part that theSupremeCourt of India, which is otherwise quite eloquent in the field ofwhat is commonlycalled “judicial activism” to ameliorate the miserableconditions of a billion-plusIndia, and rightly so, has not done much tocompel the Government toimprove the judiciary infrastructure by issuing anappropriate Mandamus and following it up for strict compliance thereof.Despite the fact that manyopportunities came before the Supreme Courtwhen it could and should have done so starting with the HusainaraKhatoon1case thirty years ago whereinthe Supreme Court came quite closeto issuing such directions to improve thejudicial infrastructure, butunfortunately, it failed to live up to the expectationswhich it had raised byelevating the right to speedy trial to the pedestal of fundamental right.What is the worth of a fundamental right if it cannot be implemented fornotone or two but for tens of millions of people? And, not for a few days, but1 (1980)1 SCC 108 at p. 114; AIR 1979 SC 1377 : 1979 Cri LJ 1052foryears together? How does it make a difference whether it is afundamental right ora normal statutory right or no right at all, if it is foracademic purposes only andnot for practical use by the people ? we arediscussing here the right to speedytrial.And, while the failure of the criminaljustice system in India to effectivelyimplement the said fundamental right tospeedy trial affects not only thosepersons who continue to languish in jail foryears despite presumed to be innocentby the system itself until completionof the trial, but also those who werecomparatively fortunate at least ingetting bail even though they also have to facethe anxiety of waiting forcompletion of trial for years together, it is actually theones who are not ableto get bail for long durations who suffer the most.Lest it be misunderstood that speedy trials help only the accusedpersons,whether on bail or otherwise, it must be clarified that the society, infact, is thebiggest beneficiary of speedy trials. To give an illustration, oneparticular accusedperson after his first offence of murder, came out on bailand committed 3-4 otherserious offences, again got arrested and got bail, andcommitted anotherserious offences, and in this way, he committed around 18seriousoffences before finally he was convicted in his first murder case afteraprolonged trial after which he was finally sent to jail putting an end