This story caught my eye on Reddit because last night I went to a dinner in Milwaukee and discussed how it still takes decades for a civil case to be brought to verdict in India — a huge barrier to businesses and firms in that country. As a demonstration of the problem, it took 33 years for an indian court to award $1 million to Susan Leigh Beer for a fall that paralyzed her on a dirty floor at a pool at the Akbar Hotel in Delhi.
Beer slipped at the pool in May 1978. That is when Jimmy Carter was president.
Beer (18 at the time) went on holiday to India with her parents and brother when she slipped and hit her head after jumping into the shallow end of the pool. It turned out to be covered in algae.
This was a high reward for India but it still leaves the dysfunctional delays in the system — a system that seems to ignore the adage that “justice delayed is justice denied.”
The article below refers to tens of millions of cases pending in the Indian courts, including “some since 1950.”
A judge reminded me at dinner last night how one of her judicial counterparts in India once remarked that “an Indian civil suit was the closest one could get to experiencing eternity.” It is unclear how the booming economy in India can continue to flourish with such a fundamentally flawed legal system. The delays add to the common complaint that businesses in India routinely violate contract and refuse to fully pay for fees or services. Such rates of contractual violations seem directly related to the fact that it is practically impossible to receive timely relief in the Indian courts.