GUWAHATI: Chief Justice of India, Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Sunday said he had proposed to the government that retirement age of high court judges be increased to 65 years from the present 62 years.
While this is done, there should be efforts to fill up the 403 vacancies in high courts with good judges, he said in his address at the foundation stone laying programme of an auditorium in the Gauhati High Court.
Expressing concern over the present, he said: "Unfortunately, the present times are witnessing belligerent and reckless behaviour by a few individuals and some groups. I am, however, hopeful that such incidents would turn out to be exceptions and the strong traditions and ethos of our institutions shall always assist the stake-holders to display resilience to overcome the belligerence of such wayward constituents."
On his proposal to increase high court judges' retirement ages, the CJI said: "In the meantime, if the government accepts my proposal of raising the retirement age of the high court judges to 65 years and I don't see why the government should not accept this proposal, the immediate result will there will be freeze on retirement for three years and in three years, we can try and fill up these 403 vacancies by good judges and then the Indian judiciary will take a different colour and complexion. This is my dream."
Referring to the pending cases, he said that there are around 1,000 pending cases which are 50 years, and about two lakh pending cases which are 25 years old.
"I had addressed the Chief Justices of various high courts on July 10, during which I requested them to go after the 50-year-old and the 25-year-old cases," he said, adding that in the northeast, there are 106 cases which are 25 year old.
He said that out of 90 lakh pending civil cases, there are 20 lakh cases which are in summary stage where summons were not served, while in over 2.1 crore criminal cases, over a crore are in summary stage. "If summons are not served, how do my judges start the trial is my question. Around 45,000 are petty offences, which can be disposed of summarily... get after these cases," Gogoi said
"Judges and judicial officers must remember that public faith and confidence on which our institution lives and survives is largely built upon the basis of orders and judgements passed by us. It is through such judgements and orders that the public judges us. Getting selected to be a judicial officer is but an opportunity to serve these hallowed institutions, whose value is always more than what can we visualize," he said.