Democracy is a structure that cannot stand tall without its four pillars- Executive power, Legislature, Media and Judiciary. The judiciary is arguably the most essential of the four pillars as it facilitates and protects equality among citizens and the state. But, Indian Judiciary is synonymous with failure. There are volumes of records that show how the justice machinery of this country has failed to deliver. It’s a popular conception that, ‘justice is only for the powerful, justice can be denied by the powerful and justice is influenced by the powerful’. No matter how ‘filmy’ this conception sounds, in our heart of hearts we know it is true.
India is not living in a primitive mode of existence. India is as capable as any country in the world. Yet, there are countries where all trials reach unanimous verdict within weeks. There are countries where people not only have fear of law but also have the faith in law. Those countries are equipped with a powerful weapon that India doesn’t have- The Jury System. Approximately 90 countries across the globe have implemented this power and have enjoyed living in a judiciary that is respected and feared by all.
What is the Jury System?
A jury is a group of individuals who hear the case presented by lawyers and pass a judgment on it.
We are familiar with seeing the judge concluding the case in favor of the protagonist in many films. Our law empowers the judge to act as a mediator and concluder. It is important to notice that Judges are limited and known- hence bribable.
History has provided us examples in Jagmohanlal Sinha’s verdict on Indira Gandhi in 1977 where the former punished the Prime Minister with a 6 year ban on election. Her fault? Nothing. One of her government’s Collector Yashpal Kapur delayed his resignation before applying for MP candidature. It was the collector who deserved a punishment, and that too a minute one. But, severe punishment of not contesting as an MP for 6 years was imposed on Indira Gandhi. Later when she came back in power and a committee was set up to investigate the case, it was found out that some foreign institutions, probably the CIA, had bribed the judge to pass the judgment against her. The bottomline is that judges have been bribable and our current system is impotent.
The jury cannot be bribed, or it can be said that they are least bribable. Why? The jury is not fixed or limited like High Court or Supreme Court judges are. The Jury keeps changing for every case. Every district has a voter list and the jurists are randomly selected from that district. It is impossible for any goon, tycoon or members of illuminati to predict who could be on the juror’s bench for the case against them. Moreover, in a jury system, the hearing is fast-tracked. A case is heard for a day and till the evidence and other proceedings are not completed, the trial keeps going on. A verdict is then reached by a group of individuals and not by an individual so the decision has to be unanimous, and certainly transparent.
The judge’s powers are limited to being a mediator who controls proceedings and conducts the hearing according to the law.
The citizens are in power and a syndicate or nexus amongst citizens who haven’t even met each other cannot be formed. Moreover, the random selection eliminates the name of the recently selected juror till the district’s volunteer or voter’s list exhausts. This way, it is impossible for anyone to predict and bribe a person, and even if that happens in the worst case scenario- bribing atleast 7 such individuals is requisite as the decision is unanimous.
The USA, Belgium, Australia, Greece etc are the countries who have utilized this power and subsequently gained from it. None of the 90 odd countries having this power have their names mentioned in the log that lists the most corrupt judicial practices in a county. India though is on the list.
Without this power of the citizens to the citizens by the citizens, true democracy can never be attained. Yet, being the largest democracy in the world, India doesn’t advocate or inculcate this power to strengthen its own pillars. It maybe a conspiracy that keeps this power away from media coverage or maybe the people are really happy with prolonged cases and illogical verdicts. Whatever it is, India is deprived from an extraordinary power that makes its judiciary look like a toothless Tiger’.