Indian judiciary is under tremendous pressure and the increasing backlog of cases is further adding stress to its already stressed functioning. No matter how many courts we open and no matter how many judges we recruit, this backlog of cases would keep on increasing. This is so because our legal and judicial system is deficient and defective.
The legal system is defective as it provides breeding ground for excessive, redundant and fruitless litigation. The governmental departments are in a “compulsive habit” of dragging cases up to the Supreme Court level even though they need not be filed at the very first stage themselves. There are no efforts taken to use alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms like arbitration, conciliation, mediation, etc to settle cases out of court.
The judicial system is defective as it allows these redundant cases to be filed and dragged up to the level of Supreme Court. No sincere and serious efforts are undertaken to divert civil disputes to ADR mechanisms. The judicial system is also lethargic to adopt and use information and communication technology (ICT) for dispute resolution and effective justice administration.
The truth is that India needs innovative methods to tackle increasing backlog of cases and future cases. At least two innovative methods can be adopted by Indian judiciary. The first one pertains to adoption of online dispute resolution (ODR) mechanisms in India. Till now not even ADR has been properly used in India so using ODR seems to be a distant dream.
Secondly, nothing is more effective than use of e-courts in India. Till the month of August 2010 we are still waiting for the establishment of first e-court in India. India is really confused between computerised courts and e-courts. Whereas India has few computerised courses it has no e-court till now.
There is an urgent need of bringing suitable legal and judicial reforms in India and innovative concepts like ODR and E-Courts can go a long way in achieving this objective. The National Litigation Policy of India (NLPI) has also unfortunately failed to accommodate these innovative concepts. Law Minister Veerappa Moily must include these innovative methods in the amended NLPI as soon as possible.