NEW DELHI: “Luxurious litigation” has contributed towards the increasing pendency of cases, Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said on Saturday. He rejected claims that the judiciary would be unable to cope with the projected pendency of 45 million cases in the country as “overstatement” and “uncharitable analysis”.
The CJI said there are “a specific type of litigations wherein parties with resources attempt to frustrate the judicial process and delay it by filing numerous proceedings across the judicial system. Undeniably, the prevailing pandemic has also contributed to our woes.”
Delivering the keynote address at the India-Singapore Mediation Summit, CJI Rammana said: “Judges in India, particularly in the constitutional courts, often burn midnight oil to meet their judicial and administrative caseload.” He added that given the growing scope of mediation, the time has come for India to push mediation in a mission mode. He advocated launching a movement to popularise mediation as a cheaper and faster dispute resolution mechanism.
The CJI said the practice of mediation was embedded in Indian ethos and prevalent before the British system came to India. “The Mahabharata actually provides an example of an early attempt at mediation as a conflict resolution tool, where Lord Krishna attempted to mediate the dispute between the Pandavas and Kauravas. It may be worthwhile to recall that the failure of mediation led to disastrous consequences,” he said.
“The often-quoted statistic that ‘pendency’ in Indian courts has reached 45 million cases, is perceived as the inability of the Indian judiciary to cope with the caseload. This is an overstatement and an uncharitable analysis. The term ‘pendency’ is used to refer to all cases which have not yet been disposed of, without any reference to how long the case has spent in the judicial system. This would mean that a case which was filed yesterday gets added to the pendency statistics. This is, therefore, not a useful indicator of how well, or poorly, a system is doing,” Justice Ramana said.