Press Release announcing Judicial Reforms recommendations by SIFF

PRESS RELEASE

Sub: Recommendations for Judicial Reforms by Save Indian Family Foundation

Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF), an NGO dedicated to promote the cause of Gender Equality and Family Harmony, issues this press release to announce the recommendations it has sent to the Chairman, Karnataka Law Commission – Dr. Justice V.S.Malimath. A copy of the same has also been forwarded to Shri. P.D.Dinakaran – Honorable Chief Justice of Karnataka, Shri K.G.Balakrishnan – Honorable Chief Justice of India and to the Member Secretary of the Law Commission of India.

Judicial reforms are the call of the day in wake of deteriorating trust and faith of people on the judiciary. The pile of pending cases repeatedly reported in various media reports is acting as a catalyst to the deterioration. People are even taking law in their own hands being exasperated of either of no hope or inaction from the judiciary.

Some live instances clearly enunciating the decline of hope and faith on the judiciary:-

  • Amit Buddhiraj, Infosys employee killed his wife and committed suicide when he had discovered his wife’s extra-marital affair and he was allegedly threatened with a false dowry case upon confronting (as per his suicide note). Amit Buddhiraj clearly knew that in a defunct and slow system plagued with judicial complacency it will be an unnecessary legal battle of 8-9 years before he could prove his innocence. Notwithstanding the crimes he committed, it is time the judiciary introspects itself to restore hope and faith amongst the common people lest they stop committing crimes unnecessarily.
  • Syed Makhdoom recently committed suicide after he was slapped with a false dowry case and was being tortured by his wife and in-laws who were demanding 10 Lakhs from him in order to allow him to meet his son, who meant the world to Makhdoom. Before committing suicide, he recorded himself in a scintillating suicide video elucidating the pain he underwent not only at the hands of his torturous and greedy wife and in-laws but also the insensitive judiciary who could not ensure access to his son which is the natural right of both the biological father and son.

These instances are merely illustrative and not exhaustive of the torture men undergo as a result of an inefficient and slow judiciary which takes 17 years to decide a divorce case and finally leave the decision to God.

Union minister of Law and Justice Shri M. Veerappa Moily has taken up judicial reforms as the top agenda of his ministry. This is a very welcome step in the right positive direction and SIFF salutes such a stand of the new Government. Even Her Excellency The Honorable President of India Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, emphasized the need of Judicial Reforms, on the National News in the Saturday 27th June 2009 4: 30 PM bulletin, to ensure :-

  • Speedy disposal of cases because Justice Delayed is Justice Denied.
  • Equal access of all to justice by finding innovative ways for the judiciary to be more people oriented.

SIFF, in its experience of dealing with false dowry harassment cases and Domestic Violence cases faced by innocent men and their families, has observed that judicial reforms is the most crucial step to prevent the crumbling of the Indian Family System under the onslaught of Legal Terrorism in the precincts of the litigating corridor of the Temple of Justice.

Judicial Reforms, if properly implemented will not only ensure proper access to justice for all, strong and weak, powerless and the powerful but also instill fear in those committing crimes leading to a reduction of crimes in the society and the foundation of a sane and just society will be laid.

Following this line of thought SIFF has submitted a memorandum containing recommendations on Judicial Reforms to the Chairman of Karnataka Law Commission, Dr. Justice V.S.Malimath, a copy of which has also been forwarded to Shri. P.D.Dinakaran – Honorable Chief Justice of Karnataka, Shri K.G.Balakrishnan – Honorable Chief Justice of India and to the Member Secretary of the Law Commission of India.

Highlights of the memorandum submitted are as under:-

Some of the problems and issues which prompted the need of Judicial Reforms:

  • The Youth and vigor of Young Women and Men are lost by the time the Family Court renders it decision – be it Just or unjust.
  • Suicide rates are on the rise especially amongst married / separated men due to the undue sentimental balance of the courts towards women which is being used to advantage by criminal minded women. In three years (2005 – 2007) 1, 65,528 married men have committed suicide as opposed to 88,121 married women as per suicide statistics by National Crime Records Bureau.
  • In the last 11 years (1996 – 2007) 1, 56,000 husbands have committed suicide directly due to Domestic Violence. Suicide rate for married men have gone up by 6 times as compared to that for married women in 2007 as compared to 2006. Family problem is numero uno killer for men and women alike contributing 27.75% to the suicides in 2007 and 29.8% in 2006.
  • Statutory mandate of law for disposal of cases by 6 months and day to day hearing is not at all followed by the Family Courts.
  • The Rules framed by the High Court to dispose of cases at least within one year is flouted by granting long, luxurious and indefinite adjournments by Family Courts.
  • Even when the High Court orders specific time limits for disposal of particular cases, the Family Courts do not respect such orders.
  • No rules at the discretion of the Family Court as provided in the Family Court Act are also framed.
  • While the Act requires recording of the gist of evidence only, the Courts elaborately records every word uttered by the witnesses religiously thus wasting the precious judicial time.
  • In the name of appointing of Amicus Curie’s the Family Courts are taken over by advocates, though the Family Courts Act vide. Section 9 and 10 has specifically banned appearance by Advocates.
  • Practicing lawyers of family Court are appointed as counselors and mediators thereby defeating the purpose of counseling and mediation.

And SIFF has also made some demands as part of Judicial Reforms which are as under:-

  • The fear of Contempt of Court is lurking like a dead ghost over law-abiding litigants who are terrorized to raise their voice against injustices going on against them due to judicial complacency, stereotypic assumptions and overstretched judicial leniency. The concept of Contempt of Court needs to be redefined objectively, like a law and should not be kept open to interpretation of anyone’s imagination or discretionary powers. The mere presence of the concept of the Contempt of Court should not behold a citizen from taking steps to ensure ends of justice and a citizen should not be deterred to voice concerns which impediment the path to natural justice and legal equality.
  • Marital cases filed more than two years back, and still in the pending stage should be disposed off in the next six months as a compensation for the time litigants have already lost due to judicial delays in cases. This will lead to drastic unloading of the unwarranted pressure on the courts to meet targets.
  • Frivolous, absurd and morally correct litigations like Shilpa Shetty kissing Richard Gere are not something the judiciary should waste time on.  Prima facie rejection of cases, based on absurd allegations, illogical timelines and unexplained delay between filing of cases and cause of action, should become a norm. This will also lead drastic to unloading of the unwarranted pressure on the courts to meet targets.
  • For child custody related cases, visitation to fathers should be granted in either one month of filing or two hearings, whichever is earlier. Also the visitation granted should be of such nature that it builds a sustainable parent child relationship.
  • Alimony for doctors, lawyers, professionals, engineers, MBAs, CAs and the likes should be rejected prima facie and concept of lifetime parasitism be replaced by a better concept to provide interest free sustenance loans returnable in 3-5 years upon obtaining gainful employment. Voluntary incapacitation by capable spouses asking for maintenance to be made a punishable offense to discourage it. Moreover interim maintenance should not be allowed to be used as a dole leading to treatment of husbands as FREE ATM MACHINES.
  • Form study circles with members from Save Indian Family Foundation who are acquitted of 498A cases, some high scholars and a few High Court judges to study husband’s issues.
  • Granting of bail under Section 498a should be a norm rather than an exception and the granted bail should not attract stringent conditions rendering it ineffective in spirit if not in letter.
  • Respect the dignity of husbands.
  • Computerization of all court records, case details and case status in order to determine the load on a particular date, before next date is given. Often it happens that on some days there is a lot of load on the courts while on other days it is relatively less burdened. Such random fluctuations of work pressure can be reasonably smoothened with the help of IT and computerization. Other benefits include prior notification to litigants if the judge is on leave on a particular date.
  • If 3 consecutive dates pass in a case and no progress happen then the judge/magistrate should be held responsible for that.
  • Increased transparency into the functioning and administration of courts via enhanced respect of applications filed under the Right to Information Act.
  • Provision of suo motu inquiry on all the judges involved in cases which are more than 5 years old. Failure to co-operate with the inquiry should lead to automatic termination of the service of the judge.
  • Multiple provisions for maintenance viz. Domestic Violence Act, Section 125 CrPC, Section 18 – HMA, Section 24 – HAMA etc. should be simplified and normalized to one single provision as people are entangled in multiple litigations for the same alleged cause of action leading to infringement of Constitutional Rights vide Article 20,21 and 22 of the Indian Constitution.

Additionally SIFF Demands that,

  1. No new law/law amendment should be passed till judicial reforms are formulated and implemented.
  2. Judges should be barred from attending luxurious functions, they can use the same time to dispose of cases to reduce load.

Full text of the memorandum is available at

http://www.saveindianfamily.org/articles/open-letters/436-judicial-reforms.html

Thanks and Regards

Public Relations Officer
Save Indian Family Foundation, Bangalore.

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