Vijay K. Saluja*
It is a known fact, that there are huge backlog & pendency of cases, in various courts at all levels. Figures about the pending cases & years since which these are pending,are also in the public domain.. Various remedial measures, to tackle the situation have been given/debated at various fora.Suggestions have been asked by various agencies/NGOs about ways to minimise the back logs.
In this connection, I have the following observations/suggestions to make—
Good percentage of the cases in various courts, pertain to service matters.
Sizable percentage of cases among these, after their final decisions, are received from the courts, reveal, that in those matters, if actions/decisions had been taken fairly & impartially, within reasonable time-period & with due application of mind, by the concerned organisations/departments, then these would not have warranted litigation at all!
In number of cases, the honest & conscientious officials, had been driven from pillar to post for their `devotion to duty`, harassed, not given their due and dishonest/colluding/non-performers/proven corrupt colleagues, pampered/patronized by the seniors/system. Thus, leaving no option for the conscientious/honest officials,but to knock the doors of the Courts, for relief/ succour.
-More [avoidable] clogging of courts.
-Demoralization of the honest-performers causing physical, financial, mental, social, spiritual stress et al.
-Sending wrong signals in the concerned organization & creating wrong work-culture.
-Big loss of exchequer, as at times, the departments/organisations are being defended by leading private lawyers engaged at huge fee, at state expenses.
-Department`s own legal department, intentionally taking a back seat or colluding..Another example of spoilt work culture!
-More corruption,diluton of work-ethics et al
What needs to be done, to avoid this situation? An ACTION PLAN–
Adopt measures to bring about accountability, fairness, following of laid down conduct rules,responsiveness amongst the officials/elected representatives
First taking up the matter with the concerned administrative/legislative authorities for corrective/punitive actions in a fair manner.
filing a PIL, interalia with the following prayer
That in case the State looses the case, then
Responsibility needs to be fixed of the recalcitrant officers/officials/elected representatives, for dereliction of duty./non application of mind/unfairness/partialty etc etc.
The concerned honest officer needs, to be suitably compensated in a reasonable time, for all the avoidable stresses, caused to him.
After proper investigation of various aspects, public funds, the State, has spent in defending a `lost` case should be recovered from the personal accounts of the recalcitrant officials, though, enough care is required that there is no `personal agenda `to be settled and bonafide decisions taken, are duly defended.
Progress to be monitored by an Independent Agency
Less clogging of courts
Huge saving of exchequer
Will bring in accountability/responsiveness.
Better productivity/Optimum utilization of scarce public funds
Better work culture.
Morale boosting of honest & conscientious officers
Fear of laid down rules
Better quality of governance thus better productivity in the System.
*Director,Giraffe Heroes India www.giraffe.org/global/india
Senior Fellow,Institute of Social Sciences,New Delhi www.issin.org
Former Chief Engineer,New Delhi Municipal Council\
Past President, IIT Delhi Alumni Association