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Justice Frustrated

What happens when justice is delayed? It is denied, certainly. That answer, while a truism, is also incomplete, for it does not describe the depth, intensity, and complexity of the impact of delay in Indian courts.

Several questions may be considered in this context:

  •  How does an undertrial prisoner bring up her child in prison?
  • How does delay in disposal of a claim affect a company’s business?
  • Who suffers when land acquisition is mired in litigation—landowner or the public?
  • Does involvement in prolonged litigation detract from a government’s primary purpose?
  • Will appointing more judges solve the problem of delay and rising pendency?
  • Are amendments to law and policy working to mitigate delays?

To answer these and other questions, this volume of essays—to which lawyers, economists, sociologists, researchers, and a High Court judge have contributed—goes beyond understanding the price of delay in terms of lost time and money. Instead, it examines the effects of delay at multiple levels—individual, institutional, societal, and systemic—through critical data analyses. It also presents innovative use of cross-disciplinary methods to understand what causes delay, how its impact can be measured, and how its effects can be anticipated and avoided. 

Targeted systemic interventions are crucial to minimise the adverse impact of delays, so that justice is neither delayed nor frustrated, or indeed, reduced to mere illusion! 

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