March 19, 2013 | By Sikh Siyasat Bureau
London, United Kingdom (March 19, 2013): In a recent statement issued by the Sikh Federation UK, the UK based Sikh body has stated that: “It was pleasing that a number of MPs used the section of the Sikh Federation (UK) briefing titled: ‘India’s judicial system that has failed the Sikhs’ to criticise India’s judicial system during the debate on 28 February”.
“This included Simon Hughes, the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Fabian Hamilton MP, David Ward MP, Richard Fuller, Conservative MP for Bedford and Virendra Sharma Labour MP for Ealing, Southall”.
It is notable that a debate was held in the Parliament of the United Kingdom on February 28, 2013 on a Kesri Lehar petition that was signed by more than 1,18,000 people. Introducing the vital issues with necessary details the Sikh Federation UK had reportedly sent a detailed documents to various MPs.
In a recent article sent to Sikh Siyasat News (SSN) the Sikh Federation UK has shared certain excerpts from the text records of the debate comprising statements of various MPs regarding justice system in India.
These statements are as follows:
‘A real problem for . . . the Government of India, is that justice has often ground to a halt there. That is not just my view. The other day a bench of the Supreme Court in India spoke of how slow the processes are, and in January last year a Supreme Court bench said that people’s faith in the judiciary was dwindling at an alarming rate, posing a grave threat to constitutional and democratic governance of the country. It acknowledged serious problems such as the large number of vacancies in trial courts, the unwillingness of lawyers to become judges, and an inability to fill the highest posts.’ – Simon Hughes, the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats
‘I am concerned that there is corruption in the Indian legal system. According to Transparency International, judicial corruption is attributable to factors in India such as “delays in the disposal of cases, shortage of judges and complex procedures, all of which are exacerbated by a preponderance of new laws”. However, no case of judicial corruption has ever been put on trial in India; under the Indian system, it is almost impossible to charge or impeach a judge.’
‘Another factor at work in India is the low ratio of judges per million of the population; there are as few as 12 or 13 judges per 1 million of population in India, as against figures of 107 in the United States—no surprise there—75 in Canada and 51 in the United Kingdom. The high work load in India encourages delays and adjournments on frivolous grounds. The judicial system, including judges and lawyers, has developed a vested interest in delays, as well as corruption; it promotes a collusive relationship between the different players.’ – Fabian Hamilton MP (Lab) – Leeds North East
‘I have touched on the necessity for India to uphold the basic human rights that are espoused in the United Nations convention against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. This is an important issue for my constituents, especially those in the Sikh community, who have long borne the brunt of judicial and societal discrimination in parts of India.’ – David Ward MP (LD) – Bradford East
‘There are issues relating to the Indian judicial system that exacerbate concerns about the existence of the death penalty. I have mentioned the implications for the mental health and well-being of people on death row. With the case load in Indian courts so backed up, what is it that says that a certain case should move forward or not? How are those decisions made? What is the due process in a system that finds itself not fully capable of dealing with its work load?’ – Richard Fuller MP (Con) – Bedford
‘We cannot always assume that the judicial system is faultless. Therefore, using death, an irrevocable act, as a punishment for a crime, puts the system at risk of punishing the innocent irreversibly.’ – Virendra Sharma MP (Lab) – Ealing, Southall
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