29-year wait for justice; Judge promises speedy verdicts

New Delhi, Aug 14 (IANS) 'Justice delayed is Justice denied' - with this observation a Delhi court ruled to give back to two brothers their plot of land in Karol Bagh after a 29-year-long legal battle. The judge also owned up responsibility 'on behalf of all my predecessors' for the inordinate delay in the case.

The brothers, one of whom is named Jai Singh, had approached court in 1982 to get back their land from the tenant. On Aug 6 this month, the Delhi court took possession of the plot from the tenant and gave it back to the brothers.

The court, while passing the order, accepted responsibility for the delay of almost three decades by previous judges in deciding a tenancy row, saying the prolonged trial denied justice.

Civil Judge Abhilash Malhotra said: 'As I have written this judgment, I shoulder all the responsibility on behalf of all my predecessors for delay caused in the present case and will endeavour in future to give speedy justice to litigants.'

'Before closing this case, I am unable to keep my eyes off from the famous maxim `Justice delayed is justice denied`,' said the judge.

Commenting on the pendancy of cases, the judge observed: 'This case has seen seasons in trial court for around 29 years and approaching the appellate court is still a legal remedy which is available to the parties. Pendancy of huge number of cases can never be made an excuse to run away from expeditious disposal of cases.'

'In law, welfare of the people is paramount but giving a decision after such a long period (29 years) could not be said to be a welfare exercise,' the judge observed in a 23-page judgement.

The judge also commented on how long delays could render the suit useless.

'A sincere effort is required on the part of all of us to provide expeditious disposal to old cases. The delay in decisions may kill the legislative intent and there is huge possibility of suit becoming infructuous,' Judge Malhotra added.