But even those cynical about conventional representative democracy with its periodic elections and cycles of widespread popular disillusionment, often described as anti-incumbency; will acknowledge that the average citizen is concerned less with the convolutions of governance and politics, or the myriad structures and levels of government departments; than with obtaining rapid and equitable access to government services, whether regulatory or developmental or welfare oriented, preferably at his doorstep.

Th e concept of good governance is not new. Kautilya in his treatise Arthashastra elaborated the traits of the king of a well governed State thus: “in the happiness of his subjects lies his happiness, in their welfare his welfare, whatever pleases himself, he does not consider as good, but whatever pleases his subjects he considers as good”. Mahatma Gandhi had propounded the concept of ‘Su-raj’. Good governance has the following eight attributes which link it to its citizens2 (Fig 2.1).

The American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote, “Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary”. It has also been said that “democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time” (Sir Winston Churchill).

Delay in justice is justice denied, denial of justice is justice buried and non-accessibility of justice is justice aborted. A study undertaken by Dr. Wolfgang Kohling and the World Bank found a relationship between the quality of the judiciary and economic development based on data for Indian states. Quality was measured in terms of backlog of cases and frequency of appeals. It was found that a weak judiciary has a negative effect on social development, economic activity and on poverty and crime. Our criminal justice system, with a staggering 2.63 crore cases pending in the district and subordinate courts (though the number is less intimidating...