Vadodara: With an overloaded and slow judicial system that leaves millions of people awaiting justice for years, Gujarat is trying to clear a part of its backlog of cases by holding court sessions in the evening.
Burdened with more than three million petty cases awaiting judgement but with little manpower, lawyers and judges are now attending evening courts and have successfully cleared 35,000 cases since the concept was introduced in December.
According to official sources, these cases include property disputes, divorce petitions, dowry harassment, theft and bootlegging—most of which generally take from two to 10 years to reach judgement.
Court officials and advocates now extend their time in the small courtrooms to hear the testimonies from 6.15pm until 8.30pm.
“At first, it was a bit awkward to sit late in the evening and hear case after case, but now I enjoy the action,” said a judge after finishing his nightly court session.
Court employees, including judges, are being paid 25% extra on their salaries for working the extended hours.
Officials say the experiment is the first of its kind in India where up to 35 million cases remain almost forgotten due to a grindingly slow judicial process with few judges.