Managing jurisprudence

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Managing jurisprudence

Monday, 01 April 2019 | Vinayshil Gautam

The gradual and systematic erosion of credibility in the system must be checked. This matter is far too serious to be left to the Government alone

All domains of activity require some organisation. From the kitchen to the space, there is no effort that can produce results without some kind of planning, and that requires an ability to anticipate and see the consequences of one’s action. It requires sequencing of activities — in a manner of speaking. Illustratively, if one is building a wall to a house, he/she cannot first build a wall and then break it to find a place for the window. The wall has to be designed, keeping in mind a suitable space for the window. And to locate space for the window, one will require an understanding about its length and breadth. Hence, measurement becomes necessary. Put simply, anticipation, sequencing of activities, ability to measure and estimate are some of the fundamentals for the planning process. Planning, as stated above, is integral to management.

Therefore, the assumption, popularly pedalled in classrooms that modern management began post World War I, is not only misleading but erroneous. Civil society carries with it the seeds of management. It also carries the seeds of an organised framework of reference and that is law. Thus, law and management are the two basic wheels on which civil society has moved.

Subsequently, as civil society evolved, so did legal framework and management orientation. The interfaces, therefore, of law (some understand it better as jurisprudence) are basic to human evolution. It is, therefore, unfortunate — while being true — that this interface has not received attention in a manner it should have, either in research, conscious practice, academia, teaching or wherever else. Whereas reams of paper and heaps of time are spent, perhaps rightly so, in understanding precedence, articles of law, sub-clauses, the core of the concern, namely its management structure, still largely goes by default. Even while some attempts are made to raise these issues, the domain of electronics enabled system has entered the court scene. In many cases tracking can be done through the court system, electronically. This is all good and welcome. But this is not what management is about.

Like any living system, the court system requires scheduling, record-keeping, classifying, remembrance and archiving. Much that goes into management. However, basically, the domain of jurisprudence or law has not attacked the issue of “conscious management” for a fair and equitable administration of justice that the situation would require. Results are there for all to see. Much of the legal system, from appointment of judges to the scheduling of cases to review of petitions, is marked by norms that are either debated or questioned or implemented in a high-handed manner with few remarking the quality of the process itself.

There are a whole lot of areas where even a discussion on legal processes, whether on merit or otherwise, of a decision or a system, is not susceptible to expert analysis or even serious and professional media attention. The bane is manifested in many ways and a time has come where even the judges seem to feel the heat. It manifests itself in discussion on the processes of appointment of the judges, allocation of work in the court room or indeed the time that is taken in disposing off the cases. The frivolity with which many adjournments are sought and granted is, of course, the quickest and the shortest way of manoeuvering to beat the possibility of fair play. This is only the tip of the iceberg. There is the whole paraphernalia of support staff in the courts, beginning with peshkars and the works, on whom the court has to depend for its servicing. Clearly, gaps are so wide that they begin to look like reality itself. Perhaps the issue can be partially resolved by rules and regulations, which put a halt to some of the aberrations.

Illustratively, how can the administration of justice take longer than the average lifespan of an adult since the time he entered into litigation? It sounds dangerously close to the membership application of an elite club in Delhi where the waiting time for consideration for the application is longer than the average lifespan itself of the applicant from the day he/she applied. Many such instances can be cited. The important thing is that the credibility of the system is progressively under erosion. Faith in the law is central to any civil society. Custodians of the legal system need to be conscious that popular references like ‘Your Honour’ can become a source of ridicule and derision if not duly earned. The time has come to review the whole gamut and spectrum of management of jurisprudence. Unless this is taken in a mission mode, some pillars of the society, beginning with the Election Commission to arbitration, may have forfeited the act of faith which keep it going. This matter of governance is far too serious to be left for the Government alone.

(The writer is a well-known management consultant) All domains of activity require some organisation. From the kitchen to the space, there is no effort that can produce results without some kind of planning, and that requires an ability to anticipate and see the consequences of one’s action. It requires sequencing of activities — in a manner of speaking. Illustratively, if one is building a wall to a house, he/she cannot first build a wall and then break it to find a place for the window. The wall has to be designed, keeping in mind a suitable space for the window. And to locate space for the window, one will require an understanding about its length and breadth. Hence, measurement becomes necessary. Put simply, anticipation, sequencing of activities, ability to measure and estimate are some of the fundamentals for the planning process. Planning, as stated above, is integral to management.

Therefore, the assumption, popularly pedalled in classrooms that modern management began post World War I, is not only misleading but erroneous. Civil society carries with it the seeds of management. It also carries the seeds of an organised framework of reference and that is law. Thus, law and management are the two basic wheels on which civil society has moved.

Subsequently, as civil society evolved, so did legal framework and management orientation. The interfaces, therefore, of law (some understand it better as jurisprudence) are basic to human evolution. It is, therefore, unfortunate — while being true — that this interface has not received attention in a manner it should have, either in research, conscious practice, academia, teaching or wherever else. Whereas reams of paper and heaps of time are spent, perhaps rightly so, in understanding precedence, articles of law, sub-clauses, the core of the concern, namely its management structure, still largely goes by default. Even while some attempts are made to raise these issues, the domain of electronics enabled system has entered the court scene. In many cases tracking can be done through the court system, electronically. This is all good and welcome. But this is not what management is about.

Like any living system, the court system requires scheduling, record-keeping, classifying, remembrance and archiving. Much that goes into management. However, basically, the domain of jurisprudence or law has not attacked the issue of “conscious management” for a fair and equitable administration of justice that the situation would require. Results are there for all to see. Much of the legal system, from appointment of judges to the scheduling of cases to review of petitions, is marked by norms that are either debated or questioned or implemented in a high-handed manner with few remarking the quality of the process itself.

There are a whole lot of areas where even a discussion on legal processes, whether on merit or otherwise, of a decision or a system, is not susceptible to expert analysis or even serious and professional media attention. The bane is manifested in many ways and a time has come where even the judges seem to feel the heat. It manifests itself in discussion on the processes of appointment of the judges, allocation of work in the court room or indeed the time that is taken in disposing off the cases. The frivolity with which many adjournments are sought and granted is, of course, the quickest and the shortest way of manoeuvering to beat the possibility of fair play. This is only the tip of the iceberg. There is the whole paraphernalia of support staff in the courts, beginning with peshkars and the works, on whom the court has to depend for its servicing. Clearly, gaps are so wide that they begin to look like reality itself. Perhaps the issue can be partially resolved by rules and regulations, which put a halt to some of the aberrations.

Illustratively, how can the administration of justice take longer than the average lifespan of an adult since the time he entered into litigation? It sounds dangerously close to the membership application of an elite club in Delhi where the waiting time for consideration for the application is longer than the average lifespan itself of the applicant from the day he/she applied. Many such instances can be cited. The important thing is that the credibility of the system is progressively under erosion. Faith in the law is central to any civil society. Custodians of the legal system need to be conscious that popular references like ‘Your Honour’ can become a source of ridicule and derision if not duly earned. The time has come to review the whole gamut and spectrum of management of jurisprudence. Unless this is taken in a mission mode, some pillars of the society, beginning with the Election Commission to arbitration, may have forfeited the act of faith which keep it going. This matter of governance is far too serious to be left for the Government alone.

(The writer is a well-known management consultant)

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