There are almost 15 thousand criminal cases that are pending in our state ‘Goa’ from which, around 4000 cases are pending in South Goa Courts alone and around 11,000 in North Goa Courts. To think about it, how is it that a peaceful state like Goa, can have so many cases pending? and also to note that; there has been a rise in the criminal cases which have been reported compared to 2016. So, is it our legal system that is lacking or are the crime rates on a full swing?
We Goans, have maintained a decorum of peace and harmony amongst each other for the longest time, so why is it that there are so many cases pending in our courts? And is it a matter to be concerned about?
One of the major reasons behind this is the lack of judges in courts that the criminal cases have been pending. Crimes such as; cheque bounces, property disputes, and financial frauds have been growing. The criminal perpetrators feel that they can get away with anything, by simply committing the crime and all they have to do is wait for the hearing; Thereafter to delay the hearing, either the accused or respondent fails to show up on the prescribed date or just simply not show up at all.
At times, the witnesses are not enough or not present at all, so the proceedings are again delayed or, on account of adjournment sought by the advocates or parties, the hearings will keep getting dragged. Perpetrators will be relaxed and they will continue with their criminal activities, with no fear of any authority. Because they know by the time they have to pay for their offenses, they will be long gone and justice will never prevail, at this rate.
The lower courts take up most of the burden, as maximum time is consumed in auditing, whereas the remaining cases go to the high court, although the cases are not kept pending. The bitter truth about the hearings conducted in High Court is that it is an expensive affair for the litigants. There is a complete lack of focus on relevant numbers. And keeping in consideration the number of cases that are pending in the system. But let us only talk about Goa’s high court, where the process is faster, but there are shortcomings with that as well, the advocated are more expensive; their fees start from anywhere between 25,000 to 1,50,000 per hearing, sometimes the common man has to pay 1 lakh only to get the lawyer to read their case files.
Besides, their limited number of lawyers, present in the Bombay Branch Court which is present in Goa, and all of them are very particular about the cases that come in for hearing. The judges do not entertain every case that comes to their desk, they are very selective, and if the cases are rejected, they are sent back to the lower courts to be dealt with, hence the process is again repeated which is both times consuming and energy draining.
Although, there are separate courts for drugs NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) Since 2012, the Anti Narcotic Cell (ANC) has booked 230 cases under NDPS Act and seized contraband substance over Rs. 17 crore street value. And Children Court, that accepts crimes involving only minors. This is the beginning, we will continue this chapter in the next article with more details and opinion of a lawyer. Meanwhile, if you have anything to share about the legal matter please does write us at [email protected]
TEXT: YUTHEEKA PRASAD BORKAR