Chief Justice of India Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Sunday said the twin factors of pendency of court cases and lack of judges have made the judicial dispensation system extremely vulnerable.
Inaugurating the new building of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, he indicated the problem was eminently solvable and urged judges to take a solemn pledge to take the system forward.
He said the pendency figures of 3 crore cases was alarming but pointed out that 81 lakh cases were just about one year old. "When you file the case by the time it gets ready it takes little time. Therefore 81 lakh cases which are less than one year old really cannot be said to be pending," said the Chief Justice.
Justice Gogoi said 50 lakh cases out of the 3 crore were petty cases like breach of Motor Vehicle Act, Weights and Measurement Act and small violations of the excise law which call for the imposition of a token fine. "I appeal to the chief justices of the high courts to give a thought how best we can deal with these 50 lakh cases."
He termed as 'worrisome and troublesome' the figure of 25 lakh cases which were 10 years old. "This is not a good sign. I think some serious reflection on this is necessary. There is no way to deal with this except for an utmost degree of commitment and devotion to see that these 25 lakh cases which are black spot on judiciary are wiped out as quickly as possible."
The Chief Justice said there were 392 vacancies of high court judges but the high courts of the country had not made recommendations for 270 posts.
"There are 130 posts in the pipeline. Out of which 100 are before the Supreme Court Collegium and 14 before the Union Government. Let us not blame anybody. Recommendation for 270 posts are yet to be made by the high courts. I appeal to the chief justices of the high courts to make these recommendations," said Justice Gogoi, adding that the 100 pending posts before the Supreme Court would be cleared in the next two to three weeks.
He pointed out that recently the Supreme Court took up the job of filling up 5,000 vacancies in the district judiciary. He was optimistic that these 5,000 vacancies in the cadres of district judges and subordinate judges will be filled very soon. "May be 75 percent of these 5,000 vacancies will be filled up by the end of 2019."