With 66% of Indian population Living Below Poverty Line and the high Cost of Litigation (in terms of Court-Fees, Typing and Photocopying Charges, Oath Commissioners’ Fees, Lawyers’ Fees, Commutation Expenses, the Lost Wage-Days for Attending the Court in a matter which remains sub judice for several generations , etc) coupled with the Common Law system of Adversarial Justice, does not ensure a level playing field for the masses. In the Civil Law countries, the Magistrate takes into consideration all the aspects of every case whether or not the weaker party’s Advocate has pleaded the same or not.
Under the Common Law (‘adversarial’ system) a Court does not really attempt to discover the Truth, it only weighs the arguments of the two Adversaries (represented by their Advocates) as supported by the ‘evidence’. And evidence is something that has been ‘proved’ by a particular man-made process whether or not it is, in fact, true.
To make matters worse, since the year 2005 there is a continuously rising incidence of exposed cases of corruption (leave alone nepotism) amongst officials of the judiciary. Not only the media has now started questioning the decisions of the Courts, but the man in the street has started throwing brick-bats on the judges even policemen are being shot, run over etc.
Supreme Court in India is opposed to the idea of having its Benches in any city other than Delhi. Moreso, the Supreme Court Rules mandate that only the Advocates-on-Record can file pleadings and appearances before it; further that such Advocates must have an Office within a radius of 16 KMs from the seat of Supreme Court.
However, the said Rules permit formation of a Company by an Advocate-on-Record with another Advocate(s), and also enable e-filing (including payment of Court Fees on-line); even the petitioners appearing in-person can avail of e-filing facility. Hence, the said Rules can be easily modified so as not to compel the litigants (Clients) – who are living or working in far off places (like Chennai, Guwahati, Ladakh etc.) to travel all the way to Delhi just to find and consult a Supreme Court Lawyer. Moreso, now the Lawyers have been permitted to host their Law-Firm’s website online.
Under the above proposal, one partner of an Advocates’ Firm may be allowed to have a camp-office in, say, Chennai — whereas the Company’s main Office shall remain situated within the aforesaid radius of 16 KMs of the Supreme Court premises; and service of Notices/Copies by the Court’s Registry or Opposite Counsels can be effected upon such Company’s main Office in Delhi — irrespective of the fact that the pleadings in that case were drafted by a Partner working out of Chennai and filed either through his/her Delhi-Office or via the aforesaid e-filing facility.
This reform will immensely help the lower middle-class and poor Litigants. Author’s proposal for dispensing with the statement of facts within the body of pleadings (in addition to their adumberation in the List of Dates & Events) by way of inclusion in the Affidavit a declaration about the List of Dates & Events being true, was also accepted — so were the proposals for a flag-car and escort-jeep for the CJI [proposal was sent through Mr Virk (DCP-Security) & Mr Kapoor (Registrar-Admin)], as also blanking off the view of Judges’ Entry/Exit Gates at Tilak Marg from the ventilator of Firemen’s room in the College of Arts.