Access To the Courts
“Law should be equal for everyone”, taking this thought into consideration, the constituent assembly created the kind of judiciary system, that can avail justice for everyone equally. The constitution of India provides a common law system in India. Where everyone is equal in the eyes of the court and laws are equal to everyone. However, there are certain rules and procedures that needed to be followed in court in order to get justice.
Undoubtedly, the law is equal for all and people have equal access to court, but in reality, the majority of people find it difficult to reach the court. Especially the lower class of society, who are relatively poor and less educated. They don’t have enough money and time, nor they are educated enough to understand the laws and procedures. The constitution of India provides equal laws and protection to the people of India and does not discriminate against people on the basis of caste, sex, religion, or race. People are provided with fundamental rights by the constitution, which is enforced by law, and if it is violated or denied by any state authority, can be sued in court. This shows that all citizens of India have equal access to the court. But sadly, the majority of people don’t approach the court due to a lack of knowledge and proper education. They are not much aware of laws and policies provided by the government.
Problems faced by People while reaching the court
- While every individual has the right to reach court if their rights are invaded, but, people seldom file a case due to long procedures and paperwork. According to them, it is time taking procedure and takes a lot of money.
- For poor people, it is even harder to go to a court for justice as the majority of them depend on daily wages, it is impossible for them to spend their time and money on court cases when they are not even able to fulfill their daily needs.
- Another reason for people to not reach out to the court is a lack of education. There are a mass number of people in society who are less educated and cannot read or write, such as laborers and workers. They depend on the daily wages and are not much aware of the laws.
- There is another problem that makes people hesitant to reach court is the long years of time that the court takes in the hearings. People get justice, but as the saying goes,” Justice late is Justice denied.” it is too late for them, and by that time, it becomes insignificant for them.
Steps Taken by Government to Resolve the Issue
The government understands the problems that people face while reaching court. To solve this issue, the supreme court devised a mechanism by the name PIL or Public Interest Litigation. Which allows any individual or organization to file a PIL in the High court or Supreme court on the behalf of those, whose rights are violated. It simply means people can submit an application to complain about the issue without involving in the long processes. They simplified the process greatly, the letters and telegrams addressed to the high court or supreme courts were also considered the PIl.
Benefits of Filing the PIL
- It is proven as an essential tool for the people to reach the court without involving in long procedures. People can fight for their rights and seek justice.
- It democratizes access to court for every citizen of the country. Any individual or organization can file a petition on the behalf of those who are unable to reach the court themselves.
- The cases can file without any heavy fees, which makes it easy and accessible for general citizens.
- Due to the easy procedures, people filed petitions addressing many social issues, which, many social issues were addressed by the court and made laws to resolve the problems. Which ultimately helped in the development of society.
Significant Changes with PIL
- With the help of PIL, many bonded laborers were rescued, whose fundamental rights were being abused.
- It secured the release of prisoners in Bihar, who had been kept in jail even after their punishment term was completed.
- Providing the Mid Day Meal in schools.
Well, although there are some drawbacks in the judiciary system, there are some issues that make it difficult to reach court. But these issues are being addressed over time. In spite of some drawbacks, the judiciary has played a crucial role in democratic India. It works as the check on powers of the executive and legislative while protecting the fundamental rights of the citizens of India. The perception of the people about the judiciary and laws is changing greatly. People nowadays are more aware and educated and not hesitant to reach the court.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question 1: What is the right of access to justice?
Access to justice is a fundamental human right granted by common law, and it exists unless it is taken away by the legislature in accordance with a legal exercise of statutory or constitutional power. Everyone is equal in the eyes of the court and laws are applied equally to all.
Question 2: What is the basic idea behind PIL?
PIL stands for Public Interest Litigation. It benefits the common people. The PIL enables any individual or organization to file a PIL in the High Court or Supreme Court on behalf of those whose rights have been violated. It basically implies that anybody can file a complaint without having to go through lengthy formalities of the court.
Question 3: Is access to justice inherent in the rule of law?
The Rule of Law includes the constitutional right to “access to justice”. Justice, according to Rawls, is the first virtue of a social organization, just as truth is the first virtue of intellect.
Question 4: Can India ensure justice in the preamble of its constitution?
Yes, India ensures the right to justice in the preamble of the constitution, according to which, The Indian constitution gives equal rights and protection to all citizens and does not discriminate on the basis of caste, gender, religion, or race. The constitution guarantees people fundamental rights, which are enforced by law, and can be sued in court if they are violated or denied by any official body.