Article127.png”” alt=””Article127″” />Pointing to the wide gap in the people-judge ratio, Chief Justice of India Justice Tirath Singh Thakur, could not hide his tears and turned emotional in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi while referring to the unprecedented pressure under which the judges in the country were working. The CJI said the government should raise the number of judges from the current 21,000 to 40,000. At the joint annual meeting between Chief Ministers and Chief Justices, Chief Justice Thakur said, “”It is for development of this country, that I beseech you to rise the occasion. You cannot shift the entire burden to the judiciary. There is a limit to judges’ capacity.””
The Prime Minister, who was not expected to speak at that point, assured the judiciary that his government was serious about addressing the issues. “”If a closed door and close team norms allow, I will definitely try to find a way out,”” he said, according to a NDTV report. An average Indian judge handles 2,600 cases in a year, compared to just 81 in the US, Chief Justice Thakur pointed out. The lower courts handle 2 crore cases a year – the discrepancy never fails to shock judges visiting from abroad, he said.
Justice Thakur said that since 1987, when the Law Commission had recommended increase in the number of judges from then 10 per 10 lakh people to 50 but “”nothing has moved””.
In his remarks made in Hindi, Prime Minister Modi said that he could understand the agony of the CJI Justice Thakur but added that there would have been reasons for things to remain same from 1987 to 2016. He said that he would not like to go into details but added “”Jab Jage Tabhi Savera”” (Morning is when you wake up). He said the challenge was how to reduce the past burden and at the same time move ahead.
The Prime Minister said that ample precautions should be taken while drafting, debating and making laws so that ambiguity and interpretation in the court would not arise and anybody taking a decision would not face the dilemma. “”We will have to move towards that kind of efficiency gradually,”” he said adding that the burden of all laws was too much for the common man. He said that his government had started the review of 1500 to 1700 such laws dating back to 1800 or 1850 and had become irrelevant. Such laws, Mr. Modi said, were being misused by those who did not want any work to be done.
Conceding that CJI Justice Thakur had pointed out several crucial aspects, the Prime Minister said that the issues could be sorted out by a few top government functionaries and a team of CJI in a closed door meeting. “”We will find ways to resolve these problems. I am not that kind of person who will go away after listening to these problems. I have taken them seriously and I will try and find some way out,”” Prime Minister Modi said.”