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Delayed justice dents faith in law
By Shruti Badyal
New Delhi
When Moninder Singh Pandher and Surinder Kohli, the accused in the Nithari killings, were given a death sentence, it restored faith in the judiciary for many. But is justice delayed, justice denied?

"A case loses its importance if it’s not handled within a specific time limit. What is the purpose of a judicial process if one does not benefit from the process immediately or gets relief? A major problem lies with cops who never seem to have enough evidence in any case. The nexus between the judiciary, politicians and cops is also responsible for the delay in judgment in some of the most important cases," says Vani Tripathi, national secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s youth wing.

Many in the capital also feel that the judiciary is not taking appropriate action. In fact, ordinary citizens also say that they find it hard to seek justice as a legal battle is often too expensive.

"It is always the poor who face the brunt of delayed justice. For the rich, it doesn’t matter if their case is sorted out or not. Their cases are strengthened by political influences and they have enough money to convince lawyers and judges," says Pankaj Vohra, a food caterer.

But the city’s youth assert that such delays can be avoided if there is an attitudinal change among judges, advocates and politicians. "There are millions of pending cases lying in Indian courts. These cases are testimony to the fact that the Indian judicial system is plagued by delays, and the fact is that the legal system is extremely slow, expensive, and beyond the reach of the common man. This verdict would’ve made a difference in the lives of the family members of the victims if it was announced soon after evidence was found against the accused," says Rishab Suri, a student.

Lawyers feel that it’s the plurality of appeals, the negligence in solving important cases, and corruption that is causing delay in judgments.

"There are 200-year-old cases pending in Delhi courts. In fact, in Patiala House Court, there is a criminal custom case which is pending for the last 75 years. And there are countless number of cases which are pending for the last 25 years," says Delhi-based advocate V.K. Singh.

He adds, "Though the situation has changed in the last few years, a major responsibility lies with evidence collection, cops and the court itself. The recent act, which was passed on immediate production of the witness, has definitely helped in solving many cases, but the judiciary has a long way to go in terms of timely verdicts."

If the situation and system is to be improved, then the judiciary needs to take up effective measures to resolve cases.

"The Centre and states should accelerate the legal process. There is no use if these reports remain on paper," says Bhawna Mahajan, who works with children with disabilities.

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