GUWAHATI: Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Sunday said that the present times were witnessing a belligerent and reckless behaviour by a few individuals and some groups. However, he was optimistic the “institution” would help overcome the “wayward” constituents.
“It is unfortunate that the present times are witnessing a belligerent and reckless behaviour by a few individuals and some groups. However, I am hopeful that such incidents would turn out to be exceptions and the strong traditions and ethos of our institution shall always assist the stakeholders to display resilience to overcome the belligerence of such wayward constituents,” the CJI said but he did neither explain the behaviour nor reveal the names of the groups and individuals.
He was speaking after laying the foundation stone of an auditorium of Gauhati High Court here.
Gogoi said the courts – unlike offices or government establishments – are unique as they, together with multiple stakeholders, facilitate and make the wheels of justice move forward.
“For each stakeholder functioning in a court complex, it is important to learn and accept that the institutional traditions and practices are the greatest gifts that we inherit in our respective journeys even as we associate with the process of justice dispensation in various capacities,” he said.
Drawing the attention of judges and judicial officers, the CJI said they must remember that public faith and confidence, on which the institution lives and survives, is largely built on the basis of court orders and judgements.
"The right to adjudicate the affairs of fellow human beings and citizens has an element of divinity to it and this privilege by itself must fill us with humility and a profound sense of duty towards the people, whom we serve," the CJI said.
He also insisted on early disposal of 50-year-old and 25-year-old cases. He said he had already requested the Chief Justices of the High Courts to go after such cases. According to him, the country has a little over a thousand 50-year-old cases and about two lakh 25-year-old cases.
“…Of the about 90 lakh civil cases in the country, more than 20 lakh are pending at the summoning stage. Summons have not been served. The figure is worse in criminal cases. Out of the 2.10 crore criminal cases, total pendency at the summoning stage is over a crore…In over a crore criminal cases, summons have not been served. If summons have not been served, how do my judges start the trial? Serving of the summons is on the executive arm of the government. To my judicial officers and the Chief Justices of the High Courts, I give another figure. Out of the total 2.10 crore criminal cases, about 45,000 are petty offences which can be disposed of summarily. Get after these cases, finish them,” the CJI insisted.
Stating that of the 1,079 seats of judges in all the High Courts, 403 were lying vacant, he added that he had already requested the Chief Justices to send their recommendations.
“I take this opportunity to renew the request with a little change of dimension. Make good recommendations. In the meantime, if the Government of India accepts my proposal for raising the retirement age of High Court judges to 65 and I don’t see why the government should not, the immediate result will be a freeze on retirement for three years. In these three years, we can try and fill up these 403 vacancies by good judges. And then the Indian judiciary will take entirely a different colour and complexion. This is my dream which should be carried on by my successor,” he added.