CJI terms govts as biggest litigants, says docket explosion because of executive, legislature

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Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana on Saturday termed governments because the "biggest litigants", accounting for nearly 50 per cent of pending cases, and said the "docket explosion" is because of non-performance of varied wings of the chief and also the legislature not realising its full potential.

plosion, the CJI named growing number of contempt cases arising out of defiance of judicial orders by the manager and said that "deliberate inactions by governments, despite judicial pronouncements, aren't good for the health of democracy". 

Speaking at the Joint Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, CJI Ramana flagged key problems faced by the Indian judiciary like pendency, vacancies, dwindling judge-population ratio and also the lack of infrastructure in courts.

Reminding the State's three organs -- executive, legislature and judiciary -- to be "mindful of the 'Lakshman Rekha' while discharging their duties", he assured governments that "the judiciary would never are available the way of governance, if it's in accordance with law".

"We share your anxiety and concern regarding the welfare of the people," Justice Ramana said. 

Dwelling further, he said all constitutional functionaries abide by the constitutional mandate because the Constitution provides for separation of powers between the three organs, clearly outlining their sphere of functioning, and delineating their powers and responsibilities.

"From day one, it's been my endeavour to fill judicial vacancies. we've got made 180 recommendations for appointments in various high courts during the last year. Out of this, 126 appointments are made," he said and thanked the Centre for clearing names. 

"However, 50 proposals are still awaiting approval by the govt. of India. The high courts have sent around 100 names to the govt. of India. they're yet to succeed in us. the information reveals the earnest efforts being made by the judiciary to fill the vacancies," he said.

The CJI also urged chief ministers to "extend wholehearted co-operation to the chief justices" in their endeavour to strengthen the district judiciary.

He said in 2016, the sanctioned strength of judicial officers within the country was 20,811 and now, it is 24,112, which is a rise of 16 per cent in six years. 

"On the opposite hand, within the corresponding period, pendency in district courts has gone up from 2.65 crore to 4.11 crore, which is a rise of 54.64 per cent. This data shows how inadequate the rise within the sanctioned strength is," he said and termed the judge-to-population ratio of 20 judges per 10 lakh as "very alarming". 

The judiciary is additionally confronted with the difficulty of the chief willingly transferring the burden of higher cognitive process to that despite the actual fact that the dogmas isn't in its domain, he said, adding that the courts cannot say 'no' to citizens. 

Justice Ramana also flagged lack of debates by legislatures in clearing laws and said from time to time, ambiguities in legislations also augment existing legal issues. 

"The legislature is anticipated to solicit the views of the general public and debate the bills, clause by clause, threadbare, before enacting a law. after I expressed concern about the passing of laws without much legislative scrutiny on Assumption last year, i used to be misunderstood by some quarters. 

"Let there be little doubt. i've got the best regard for the legislature and also the elected representatives...," he said and quoted Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla who had reportedly favoured debates on passage of laws. 

Justice Ramana talked about the rising number of frivolous litigations and said, "For example, the well-meaning concept of public interest litigation is from time to time turning into personal interest litigation." 

He said, "Indianisation of the justice delivery system" is required by moulding the system to suit the requirements and sensibilities of the common Indian population. 

He advocated the necessity of fitting of the National Judicial Infrastructure Authority and also the State Judicial Infrastructure Authorities within the lines of NALSA and SLSAs to satisfy the growing need of infrastructures in courts. 

"Let me make it very clear. this can be not about funds. i need to acknowledge that the Union Government has been making reasonable budgetary allocation... The time has come to maneuver on from the current ad-hoc committees to a more streamlined, accountable and organised structure," he said, adding that the proposal wasn't "aimed at usurping powers of any". 

The 11th Chief Justices-Chief Ministers' conference was held after a spot of six years following the Saturday's 39th chief justices' conference held with an "aim and object to debate and identify the issues that are affecting the administration of justice".