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Comptent cases is the result of defiance of govts

Chief justice of india asserted 

Supreme court

The Chief Justice of India NV Ramana on Saturday said that the non-performance of the various wings of the executive and the ambiguities in the legislations were contributing a lot to the case load of the judiciary.

If the authorities are performing their functions in accordance with law, people would not approach the Courts, the CJI said. The law and the constitution are at times ignored in governance and opinion of the legal department is not sought in the rush to implement executive decisions.

He was speaking at the inaugural session of the 11 Joint Conference of the Chief Ministers of the States and Chief Justices of the High Courts at New Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju also spoke at the event.

Judiciary will not come in the way of governance if it is in accordance with law

The CJI said that the judiciary will not come in the way of governance if it is in accordance with law. He then illustrated certain instances of misgovernance which trigger litigation.

"I would like to begin with identifying a few contributing factors for docket explosion in the Indian scenario.

If a Tehsildar acts upon a grievance of a farmer regarding land survey, or a ration card, the farmer would not think of approaching the court. If a municipal authority or a gram panchayat discharges its duties properly, the citizens need not look to courts.

If revenue authorities acquire land through due process of law, the courts would not be burdened by land disputes. Apparently, these cases account for 66% of the pendency.

It is beyond my understanding as to why intra and inter departmental disputes of the Government or fights between PSUs and the government end up in courts.

If service laws are applied fairly in matters of seniority, pension and so on, no employee will be compelled to go to courts. It is a well acknowledged fact that the governments are the biggest litigants accounting for nearly 50% of the cases.

If police investigations are fair, if illegal arrests and custodial torture come to an end, then no victim will have to approach the courts.

Abiding by law and the constitution, is the key to good governance. However, this is often ignored, and opinions of legal departments are not sought in the rush to implement executive decisions".

The CJI added that lack of special prosecutors and standing counsels for the governments is another major issues that needs to be addressed.

Defiance by Government adding to contempt cases

The CJI also expressed concerns at the Government not complying with judicial directions, which lead to a burst in contempt petitions.

"The decisions of courts are not implemented by Governments for years together. The resultant contempt petitions are a new category of burden on the Courts, which is a direct result of the defiance by the Governments. Deliberate inactions by the Governments, despite judicial pronouncements, are not good for the health of democracy."

"The judiciary is also confronted with the issue of the executive willingly transferring the burden of decision making to it. Although policy making is not our domain, but, if a citizen comes to the court with a prayer to address his grievance, the courts cannot say no", the CJI added.

Legislations passed without sufficient discussions; ambiguities in law leading to litigation

Next, the CJI mentioned the problem of the legislature passing laws without sufficient debates and discussions. 

"At times, ambiguities in legislations also add to existing legal issues. If the legislature passes a law, with clarity of thought, foresight and with people's welfare in mind, the scope for litigation gets minimized.

The legislature is expected to solicit the views of the public and debate the bills, clause by clause, threadbare, before enacting a law". 

Two major reasons for docket explosion

"Based on these examples, one can safely summarize that, often, litigation is triggered because of two major reasons. One is, non-performance by the various wings of the executive. Second is, the Legislature not realizing its full potential", the CJI said. He added that such cases are avoidable burdens on the judiciary.

Pendency is often blamed on the judiciary; but the issue of unfilled vacancies need resolution

The CJI said that the pendency is blamed on the judiciary but the issue of unfilled vacancies and increasing sanctioned strength of judges need discussion.

"As per sanctioned strength, we have just around 20 judges per 10 lakh population, which is alarming low", the CJI pointed out.

In 2016, the sanctioned strength of judicial officers in the country was 20,811. Now, it is 24,112, which is an increase of 16% in 6 years. On the other hand, in the corresponding period, pendency in district courts has gone up from 2 crore 65 lakhs to 4 crore 11 lakhs, which is an increase of 54.64%. This data shows how inadequate the increase in the sanctioned strength is.

"I would like to urge the Hon'ble Chief Ministers to extend wholehearted co-operation to the Chief Justices, in their endeavor to strengthen the district judiciary...Unless the foundation is strong, the structure cannot be sustained. Please be generous in creating more posts and filling the same, so that our judge-to-population ratio is comparable to advanced democracies", the CJI said.

Frivolous litigation a cause of concern

"The rising number of frivolous litigations is an area of concern. For example, the well-meaning concept of public interest litigation is at times turning into personal interest litigation. No doubt, PIL has served a lot of public interest. However, it is sometimes being misused to stall projects or pressurize public authorities. These days, PIL has become a tool for those who want to settle political scores or corporate rivalry. Realizing the potential for misuse, Courts are now highly cautious in entertaining the same".

Judicial infrastructure

"There is a severe gap between the existing infrastructure and the projected justice needs of the people.

The environment of some District Courts is such, even lady advocates feel apprehensive about entering court rooms, let alone female clients. Courts, being temples of justice, should be welcoming and carry the requisite dignity and aura", the CJI said.

He reiterated the need for a Special Purpose Vehicle to deal with judicial infrastructure, a National Judicial Infrastructure Corporation in the lines of the National Legal Services Authority.

Use of Local languages in High Courts

"I am receiving many representations for introducing local languages in proceedings before the High Courts. I think the time has come now, to revisit the demand and take it to logical conclusion. The practice of law before Constitutional Courts should be based on one's intelligence and understanding of law, and not mere proficiency in language", the CJI said.

The CJI also reiterated his call for "Indianization of judiciary".

"I have been a strong proponent of "Indianization of the Justice Delivery System". By Indianisation, I mean increasing accessibility by moulding the system to suit the needs and sensibilities of the Indian population.

It is a multidimensional concept. It calls for inclusivity, providing access to justice, removal of language barriers, reforms in practice and procedure, development of infrastructure, filling up of vacancies, augmenting the strength of the judiciary and so  on"

(Source:Live law live news)