The Chief Justice of India broke down several times in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he highlighted the burden and negligence of judiciary while addressing a Joint Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices in Delhi Sunday.
Justice T S Thakur made a direct appeal to Modi to take steps for increasing the number of courts and judges in the country so that the poor man and under trial prisoners get justice. There are over 3 million pending cases in various courts across India, he said.
The Make in India campaign and drive to get foreign direct investments make no sense if investors do not get justice, Thakur said.
“Judges’ strength has been put in cold storage for past three decades. In some petitions, we have to dispose ourselves in extremely stressful conditions. You cannot shift the entire burden on the judiciary,” Justice Thakur said. “I request your government to address the issue,” he added.
Mere criticism of the judiciary is not enough, he said.
“Not only in the name of litigants and people languishing in jails but also in the name of the development of the country and its progress, I beseech you to rise to the occasion and realize that it is not sufficient to criticize,” he said.
He said following the Law Commission’s recommendation, the Supreme Court in 2002 had supported increasing the strength of the judiciary.
A parliamentary department related standing committee on law then headed by Pranab Mukherjee had also recommended taking the judge to people ratio to 50 from 10.
The United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia have maintained a judge-population ratio of 107, 75, 50 and 41 judges per million people respectively from the 1970s and 1980s.
Responding to the Chief Justice of India’s speech, Modi said he agreed that redundant laws need to be removed, and also assured that his government was ready to work with the judiciary on increasing the number of judges.