Strengthening subordinate judiciary – consisting of district and below level courts – is a much needed but grossly neglected reform. It has the potential to address the ever increasing problems of backlog and delay in justice dispensation and make the judiciary far more productive. Judiciary as a whole and subordinate judiciary in particular is endued with monstrous procedures which devour its foundation itself. There is a widespread criticism that laws and legal principles have no much application in lower judiciary which is now dominated with redundant ritualism.
Meritorious appointment of district and below level judges is one easy way out in improving the quality of lower judiciary altogether. Only men of competence, caliber and integrity are to be appointed as subordinate judges. Caste, creed or religion should get no decisive role in appointment of a judge.
The Advocates, as officers of the court, have a great role to play in judicial proceedings but a large section of them do not rise up to the role they are expected to play.
In criminal cases, it is the investigation that provides basic inputs in presentation and adjudication. The strength of adjudication in criminal cases depends mostly on the efficacy of investigation and evidence collection.
In short, the problems that make lower judiciary vulnerable and weak are litigation explosion, increase in legislations, increasing election petitions/cheque cases/etc, inadequacy of judges, non-merit of judges, inadequacy of staff members, insufficiency of infrastructure in courts, wrong priorities in disposal of cases, hastily made imperfect legislations, absence of talented lawyers, ignorance of statutes/procedures among stakeholders, shoddy police work, and inept prosecution. They need immediate attention and curing. No doubt, strengthening lower judiciary is far more important than introducing Court of Appeals in between the High Court and the Supreme Court or establishing more Benches of the Supreme Court in different parts of the country.