Bhubaneswar: BJD leader Baijayant Panda has sought immediate steps to fast-track cases of crime against women and those involving criminal charges against elected representatives for which number of judges must be increased and infrastructure strengthened.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Lok Sabha member from Kendrapara in Odidha sought to highlight the deep rooted flaws in the system that have been brought into focus after the incident of gangrape leading to the death of a young woman in Delhi.
Panda said the incident brought to light the regressive attitudes in society, the efficacy of the police and the over-worked judiciary. In his letter, Panda highlighted the crisis facing the judiciary and said judges per million population in India stands at 13, compared to 100 in developed countries.
Despite the Law Commissions recommendation in 1987 to raise it immediately to 50, and to 100 by the year 2000, it still remains abysmally low, he said.
Owing to this, more than 30 million cases remain pending at all levels of judiciary, about 3 million of them for over a decade, Panda said, adding the system of fast-track courts that was first set up based on the recommendations of the 11th Finance Commission worked efficiently and disposed of 85 per cent of the cases assigned to them.
However, despite their success the Centre withdrew its support to the scheme and left it to the limited resources of state governments. Given shortage of funds with states, most courts were discontinued.
In effort to facilitate timely justice, Panda said there was a need to increase the number of judges and provide them with requisite infrastructure. The focus of fast track courts must be on criminalisation of politics and widespread crimes against women, he said.
Pointing out that a report of the 'Association of Democratic Reforms' has stated that 76 of the 543 members elected to Lok Sabha in 2009 had been charged with serious criminal charges, Panda said criminal-political nexus needs to be broken, which can be facilitated if criminal cases against elected representatives are expeditiously disposed.
The Justice JS Verma committee report also stresses that the real problem is implementation. It also highlights the need for speedy justice to ensure efficacy of the law, the BJD leader said.