NEW DELHI: Chief Justice of India T S Thakur today expressed dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi not mentioning the problems faced by the judiciary in his speech on the occasion of 70th Independence Day, and said he was expecting some words about the judges' appointments.
"I think I have reached the peak of my career, so I don't hesitate in saying what I feel. So, I should speak the truth which touches your hearts... We heard speeches by the popular Prime Minister, the Law Minister and was expecting something about justice and judges' appointments.
"Cases used to get decided within 10 years under British rule but even that is not happening now. The number of cases and people's expectation have risen so substantially that it is becoming difficult to achieve the objective now. That is why I have time and again requested the Prime Minister to pay attention towards this aspect," the CJI, who had recently made an emotional appeal to the PM in this regard at a function, said.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, however, said that the appointment of judges would go ahead irrespective of whether new Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) was in place or not. Prasad said the absence of MoP would not come in the way of the appointment of judges to higher judiciary.
The Centre and the judiciary have been at loggerheads in recent times on finalisation of the Memorandum of Procedure which deals with the appointment of judges in High Courts and the Supreme Court. The collegium had questioned the Centre's right to reject its recommendation on grounds of national interest and had asked it to change certain other clauses.
The clause on the right to reject a recommendation on national interest is contrary to the current practice where the government is bound to accept a recommendation by the collegium, comprising the CJI and four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, if it reiterates the same.
Recently, an apex-court bench headed by the CJI had given a stern message to the Centre over non-execution of the collegium's decision to transfer and appoint Chief Justices and judges in High Courts and said that it would not tolerate "logjam in judges' appointment" and would intervene to "fasten accountability" as justice delivery system was "collapsing".
In a function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association on 70th Independence Day, the CJI said unemployment is a major challenge today and "freedom in real sense is freedom from unemployment and exploitation.
"When we pay homage to our martyrs who lost lives for the sake of the country we should introspect and examine how much we have lived up to their ideals," he said.