NEW DELHI: Chief Justice of India T S Thakur today expressed hope that the controversy arising out of the refusal of Justice J Chelameswar to take part in Collegium meetings would be sorted out.
"We will sort it out," the CJI told PTI here in a brief response when asked about his first reaction on the recent development centred around the functioning of the Collegium.
The CJI did not elaborate further on the issue. Justice Chelameswar, the fifth senior-most judge who is part of the five-member Collegium headed by CJI and Justices A R Dave, J S Khehar and Dipak Misra as other members, did not attend the Collegium meet scheduled on Thursday.
He also shot off a letter to the Justice Thakur expressing unwillingness to take part in Collegium meetings on several grounds including that it has been functioning in an "opaque" and "non-transparent" manner.
The meeting of the Collegium was called off due to the development. The CJI, who was delivering the convocation address at the National Law University (NLU) here, also raised the issue of lack of adequate number of judges at the level of trial and appellate courts.
The fundamental right of speedy trial is not being delivered at all levels in the criminal justice system due to the lack of right number of judges, he said.
"Speedy trial is a fundamental right and its a part of right to life. But unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, and a major reason is, as we all know, the lack of proper number of judges that are required. This is not happening at the trial level or at the appellate level. This needs to be addressed," he said.
He urged young lawyers to face the challenges posed in today's world for the "downtrodden" and steer the dynamics of change by being an instrument of constitutional values. "I feel that reforms and especially rejuvenation of the system by additional vacancies being created, appointments being made, infrastructure being provided is the need of the hour," the CJI said.
The CJI further said "most of the historic events of social change including the struggle for India's independence have been led by lawyers. I, therefore, look up to you, the lawyers of tomorrow, to be the true guardians of the democratic and constitutional values for the benefit of the future generations."
He said lawyers are often accused of being responsible for delay in disposal of cases which in turn "defeats justice" but it is neither professionally, nor morally correct for one who is committed to upholding and ensuring justice.
"With the cooperation of bar, the performance of judges will also improve, as the quality of justice is directly proportional to quality of assistance which lawyers provide to judges," he said.
Besides CJI, Supreme Court judge, Justice J S Khehar, who is a Visitor of NLU, and Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia were also present at the event. Delhi High Court Chief Justice G Rohini, who is also the Chancellor of the University, conferred degrees to 73 students of BA.LLB (Hons), 47 students of LLM and three PhD scholars. Apart from this, 25 gold medals and five cash prizes tothe students of BA.LLB (Hons) and two gold medals to the students of LLM were also awarded.
The maximum number of 10 gold medals and a cash prize was bagged by Amrutanshu Dash, who was followed by Vaishali Singh who got six gold medals and one cash prize.