Teary-eyed Chief Justice beseeches Narendra Modi for more judges

You cannot blame the judiciary alone for the high number of piling cases, an emotional TS Thakur said.

New Delhi: The Chief Justice of India on Sunday broke down in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi while inaugurating a Joint Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices at Delhi.

A teary-eyed Justice Thakur said that alongside all the other policies that the PM was campaigning for, such as the FDI and Make for India, it was equally important to concentrate on the judiciary and showcase a better India to the world.

“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.

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The Chief Justice was delivering the inaugural address, and was going in length on the present condition of the Indian judiciary when he lost his composure.

"Mere criticism of the judiciary is not enough. Speeches have been made in past, people have spoken in conferences ... there has been debates in Parliament, but I think nothing really appears to be moving. Centre says that they commit themselves but puts the responsibility on state governments, who in turn put the onus on centre, claiming lack of funds," he said.

Maintaining that the performances of Indian judges is head and shoulder above those of other countries, he said, "While this tug of war goes on, the judges' strength remains where it is, 38 lakh cases remain where they are,'' he added.

"In 1987, the requirement was 40,000 judges. From 1987 till now, we have added 25 crore in terms of population. We have grown into one of the fastest growing economies of the world, we are inviting foreign direct investment into the country, we want people to come and make in India, we want people to come and invest in India," the CJI said.

He said following the Law Commission's recommendation, the Supreme Court in 2002 had also 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.

Responding to the emotional outburst, Modi said 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.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle with agency inputs )
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