AIRES RODRIGUES, RIBANDAR
WE observed the International Justice Day on July 18. It was time to reflect on the fact that in a small state like Goa there is a very huge pendency of cases. As on May 31 this year, a whopping 60,418 cases were pending across various courts in our state: 2,164 cases have been going on for over ten long years while 7,414 cases dragging on for over five years. A total of 1618 pending cases are relating to senior citizens. New cases having been adding to the total figure daily. Very sadly for many justice eludes and evades in their lifespan. This sorry state of affairs is untenable as justice delayed is justice denied which is absolutely impermissible. The fountain of justice must keep flowing while it dispenses the rule of law to the last man in the queue in a timely and truthful way. Some years ago there was loud talk of commencing night courts while the pendency could be dealt with if the day courts themselves functioned effectively. The wheels of justice were moving slowly even prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and the state of affairs has now worsened. The judiciary is the common man’s last hope for justice. It cannot fail to deliver in these critical days while the pandemic rages. Dispensation of justice is an absolute essential service which has to be provided uninterrupted. In the current grim scenario our High Court is trying to do its best to hear and dispose of matters by sitting four days a week compared to their counterparts in Mumbai who sit twice a week. But there has to be concerted efforts by the subordinate judiciary in our state to function as effectively and diligently as possible. The decision by the courts to currently only hear urgent matters is a matter of concern. Every court after taking all the required precautions in the current circumstances could hear a fixed number of cases daily. As every litigant knows the urgency of his case, there is no excuse why courts cannot function to its optimum possible capacity while observing all the required health and safety protocols.