In developing countries such as India, there exist a variety of factors which negatively impact the administration of justice, not the least of which is the voluminous amount of legal cases clogging the judicial system. Given that there are embedded biases in the overall eco-system in favour of the rich, the famous and the powerful people, it has always been easy to skew the judicial administration, not allowing it to see the truth in its entirety. Witnessing the delivery of skewed and bad justice has resulted in the common man losing his faith in the judicial system’s effectiveness over the years. This has not been the result of bad judges, but more because of the ineffectiveness of the system which is easily liable for negative impact by powerful sources.
At the same time, over the past decade or so, the trust of the common man on the Supreme Court has vastly increased due to its interventionist and activist justices who often took suo moto cognisance of society’s victims. But then, such instances have been far and few between, and most people cannot anyway access the Supreme Court easily.
So, in a nutshell, the administration of judicial system has been found wanting in many developed countries. The victims often lose cases against powerful politicians. Even if powerful people finally get their day in court, they escape with a little knuckle on their wrist, and then go on to perpetrate the next crime.
Most countries assume that judicial systems are far better in the Western world, with more equitable delivery of justice. We have been influenced over the years by Hollywood movies and news sources on the fairness of the U.S. judicial system, and examples of legal cases where the justice has seen to be delivered.
However, there are plenty of examples wherein the Western system has totally gone astray and completely wrong. One example is the hugely disproportionate sentences meted out to different kinds of folks for the same kind of crime. In-built racism plays a huge role in the administration of the U.S. justice system, and it is not uncommon for a Black person to receive a sentence of 3 or 5 YEARS and for a White person to receive just 15 days in jail for comparable crimes. It is quite easy for a Black or Latino person to get shot by the police at a traffic stop, simply because the cops assume that Blacks and Latinos are, in general, criminals as compared to Whites. The Jury selection system is so skewed in the U.S. Courts of Law that it is almost impossible to get a fair selection of Jury and a fair evaluation of the criminal. The judges are constrained by the jury system so they have to play along, but the severity of the sentencing disturbs the social equity and equilibrium. We have seen consistently that the U.S. judicial system inflicts a far severe punishment on the Black and poorer sections of society involved even in petty crimes, and let go of the Whites for similar crimes, and further sentences Whites to less duration in prisons for even more egregious crimes.
So, why are we adoring the Western system of justice so much while denigrating our own? The problem is that most of us are ourselves racists at heart, and tend to admire our colonial masters because they are Whites with superior intellect? I do not have a clear cut answer, but it is apparent that there are issues with related lines of thinking. Whichever way you look at it, it is difficult not to conclude that the entire world is unfair when it comes to a uniform treatment of its denizens.
While I can go on and on, there is no escaping the fact that the justice system, in any country, is generally not blind. Or is it blind? Does it have eyes or no eyes? Think about it for a minute. Can we trust the system to deliver an equitable and fair justice? Or we cannot?
Things are complicated in any society. There is a hefty mix of power, wealth, racism, and corruption which colours the eyes of justice, making for a hugely non-uniform as well as non-linear administration of the justice system.
In my view, this unfortunate situation is not going to change much going forward. I do not have a prescription for betterment, but I do strongly think that we should stop aping the West and resolve our problems by ourselves. This applies to most developing countries, but does not apply to dictatorships.
Have a great week ahead,
15th September 2019