Waiting for Justice

A few weekends ago I explored starting a social initiative to bring together people who are waiting for justice in India. My inspiration is my mother who has been waiting since 1984. In spite of 3 judgments in her favor, the case is lingering in court. The delays are created by opponents who misuse the justice framework, as there is no expiry date by which a case must conclude.

Since I was a child I have seen my mother’s struggle with the justice system to get her legal (inheritance) rights. Despite being a mother of two, a successful engineer and a successful business owner, mom has had to add one more dimension to her life. The time away from business and family was often spent on court cases and lawyer meetings. Her determination was not motivated by financial gain. Her emotional attachment to her childhood home is beyond words as this home was a hospital, my grandmother’s (a gynecologist) workplace. I admire my mother’s persistence; she goes to court with a smile and a renewed enthusiasm each time her case comes for hearing.

Fact: Indian judiciary would take 320 years to clear the backlog of 31.28 million cases pending in various courts including High courts in the country.

Will it help to bring together those who have stuck firmly to the path of justice? They are not alone and are not foolish. Their respect for the law should not be mistaken as their weakness. They hope to see some reforms in our justice system in their lifetime.

I registered the domain waitingforjustice. org and initially thought of creating a platform to aggregate affected people. However, my subsequent conversations with a few socially-active lawyers at Ashoka India revealed that bringing people on a platform would work only if a media channel/newspaper were to push this platform. Also, the number of people who are under-trial and inside the prison are equally large in number, and their need for justice is far greater than those on the outside. They are many organizations that gather data and create reports around the lack of efficiency in the justice system. So, more data was not the answer.

However, without an efficient and timely justice system, the incentive to break the law is greater. Recently my neighbor filed an F.I.R. against the famous Leela Palace Hotel in Bangalore, and thankfully the police acted and stopped the illegal use of the public road by the Management of this hotel. This was happening for years but someone finally put faith in the Law and acted to make things right. We probably need an online platform called “ShameOnYou” for companies that shamelessly misuse public property. I can report the actions of two such companies within a few kilometers of my home.

We’re all waiting for justice on some issue. Even if it’s not a court case or an F.I.R., it is something disturbing – garbage thrown in the park, traffic rules being broken shamelessly, the speeding truck that hurt someone and vanished, or something as simple as smokers throwing stubs on the street. Each issue is a valid complaint and a real instance of breaking the law.

The question remains. Will the law prevail if we complain? How long will it take? Many continue to wait for an answer while they’re waiting for justice.

— Your answers, ideas, personal experiences and examples are most welcome.

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One comment

  1. Anjali

    Recently, there has been a lot of talk about the issue of time-bound justice. A friend of mine, who also happens to be an India-activist, Shantanu Bhagwat, wrote a detailed blog explaining the reality of the problem.
    http://satyameva-jayate.org/2011/07/04/justice-delayed-denied/

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