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  • Writer's pictureLEGALFOXES




The rule of law cannot exist without an effective judicial system, an effective judicial system means a system which is capable of delivering justice in a timely and proportionate manner in a way that gains public confidence in the administration of justice. In India, it can be seen that the underprivileged society has no faith in the efficacy of the criminal justice system. The biggest problem with India’s criminal justice system is the delay in deciding the cases. The issue of delay has been raised many times and almost on all the possible platforms available in our country but still no change in the situation. The question which remained unanswered that whether justice delivered after 10,20 or 30 years of an incident is justice or not? This article will discuss how India’s Criminal Justice system as an example of Justice delayed is Justice Denied.


William Ewart Gladstone, one of the politicians and Former British Prime Minister, coined this phrase. He was of the view that justice must be given when needed. Everything in this world has a saturation point and anything happens after that, is useless. Similarly, justice must be served on time. If it is carried out later, then it cannot be termed as a proper or real justice, which is like a lack of justice.

Whenever a person suffers any loss or damage, it seeks legal action against the accused, justice from the court, and compensation for the loss suffered. It is the duty and the responsibility of every judicial system to deliver justice to everyone suffering due to some legal wrong. In seeking justice, people spend a huge amount on lawyer fees, law clerks, and other miscellaneous expenses, and it takes years to solve a single case. In our country, due to the hierarchy of criminal courts, procedural and technical aspects, and numerous dates, the cases are delayed for a period that is beyond the control of human action.

Situation Of Indian Judiciary

The unjustified delays in delivering justice highlight the drawbacks and challenges of our Indian criminal justice system. According to a report there are only 19 judges per 10 lakh people in our country. To dispose of the cases on time we need atleast 50,000 judges across the country, but we have only 18,000 judges serving presently. There are approximately 30 million pending cases, 60,260 in The Supreme Court of India, and 38.68 Lakh cases in various high courts of India. Another issue is the inadequacy of staff attached to the courts. Undoubtedly, the Indian judicial system urgently requires to increase the number of judges and fast-track courts, primarily at the district level. Cases that are pending for more than a decade should be dealt with, on a priority basis. More Lok Adalats and Mobile courts are required, it will reduce the burden of higher courts and resolve complex cases speedily

Examples Of Delay In Justice

1. In Hashimpura massacre case , On October 31, 2018 the Delhi High Court delivered the verdict and awarded life imprisonment to 16 former policemen of the 41st Battalion of UP Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC). This was a case of the targetted killing of May 1987 where policemen picked up and shot 42 Muslims in Hashimpura, Meerut. The bodies were later thrown into a canal.

2. In 2017 The Supreme Court Of India gave its ruling in Delhi’s Uphaar Cinema case. In Delhi’s Uphaar Cinema fire mishap in June 1997, 59 people died due to suffocation. Later an inquiry committee was formed, the committee in its report, revealed that the owner of the Uphaar cinema hall was responsible for the mishap.

3. In the case of Bhopal Gas Tragedy , The judgment was delivered after 26 years of the tragedy in the year 2010. In this case due to leakage of MIC (Methyl Isocyanate) in a factory in Bhopal, nearly 5 lakh people were affected. Also the amount of compensation given was not sufficient.

Constitutional Right to Speedy Trial

One of the major objectives of the Indian Constitution is to Secure justice – social, economic, and political to all citizens of this country which has also included in the Preamble Of the Constitution. Then Article 39-A of the Constitution imposes a duty on the State “to secure equal justice and free legal aid for the citizens”. According to this particular article the state has to ensure that every citizen should have access to get justice, If that person cannot then the state will have to provide him with free legal aid. Article 21 of the Constitution of India which ensures that no person should be deprived of his life or personal liberty also includes speedy trial as a fundamental right. Babu Singh v. the State of UP , while dealing with the bail petition, Justice Krishna Iyer concluded a remark that, Our justice system even in grave cases, suffers from slow motion syndrome which is completely against the concept of 'fair trial' whatever the ultimate decision. Speedy justice is an essential ingredient of social justice.


For a democratic country like India, delay in justice is a very big challenge because in our country the Constitution is supreme and it very well embodied that there should be equal protection of law and equality before the law but the reality is just opposite to this. The flaws in present legislation, rules, and regulations, lack of awareness about the fundamental rights, unequal access/no access to legal services and less number of judges to deal with pending cases are the actual reasons for the delay caused in delivering justice. So, the government of India should consider this as an issue that needs some major reform in its infrastructural level because it affects the lives of people and makes them worst. Nani Palkhiwala, an eminent Indian Jurist once remarked that “The greatest drawback of the administration of justice in India today is delay.”

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