New Delhi: Lack of government support in states is one of the reason for delay in justice delivery, Justice Madan B Lokur of the Supreme Court on Saturday said.
He said only 0.4 per cent of the budgetary outlay is allocated to the judiciary.
"Is justice delivery so unimportant that there is only 0.4 per cent of the GDP as budget for the judiciary"? he said and termed it as "quite insufficient".
The apex court said budgetary allocation for the judiciary was insufficient when there was a proposal for improving the infrastructure by increasing the number of courts and modernising the existing ones by using technology.
"The total number of courts in the country is going to be increased from 14,000 as of now to 18,847. Apart from more judges, we require, land, new courts, modernization of existing courts, staff to help judges, resources etc., which will be hard to come by in this situation when there are many other challenging agenda before the government ," he said.
Justice Lokur, who was speaking at a seminar on `Technology to Enable Accessible and Speedy Justice,` said increasing the number of judges will not help in speedy disposal of cases as the judiciary is not able to handle the existing 14,000 courts due to lack of infrastructure and state governments does not have money for it.
"Justice delivery system here, often, is not responsive and technology will help in making things better", he said.
"Look at our justice delivery system, I don`t think it delivers justice in time. Well, there could be an opinion whether it delivers justice at all, but certainly not in time.
"Very often, it`s not responsive and although technology can speed up justice delivery and can make justice available and affordable to people, we would still have to look at justice delivery in a larger context," Justice Lokur, who is also in-charge of the E-Committee of the apex court, said.
Senior advocate Fali S Nariman said there is a need for accessibility of the common man to speedy justice.
He said "we need not only technology but something more. We need civil society`s initiative, encouraging young lawyers to represent litigants in small cases."
Nariman said "a start was made for easy access to justice
by the provision of legal aid and establishment of consumer forums. Lawyers are not particularly encouraged but the general practice of laziness even in these forums is not very appreciative."
He was in favour of using retired judges for clearing the backlog of cases and opined that legal aid system should be revamped to help the poor litigants.
Regarding pendency of cases in courts across the country, he said there is an inadequate police force to probe the cases.
He said 13 million criminal cases are pending in subordinate courts while the strength of judges is 12,000 and the cases of 14 million undertrials are pending in courts.
"Courts are not mechanical, they also need time to go through the evidence... We can`t blame the judges (for pendency) either," he added.