An emotional Chief Justice of India (CJI) TS Thakur on Sunday broke down in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and lamented “inaction” by the Executive in increasing the number of judges from the present 21,000 to 40,000 to handle the “avalanche” of litigations.
“It is not enough to criticise, you cannot shift the entire burden to the judiciary. If you compare performances of our judges to the other countries, we are head and shoulder above them,” he said.
The Prime minister, who was initially not expected to speak at that point, broke his silence to assure 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.
“Speeches have been made in past, people have spoken in conference, there’s been debate in Parliament. But, I think nothing really appears to be moving,” he added.
Talking about differences in Centre and State governments, he said “Centre says, yes, we commit ourselves but its state governments responsibility, state government says let Centre provide funds. While this tug of war goes on, judge strength remains where it is, 38 lakh cases remain where they are.”
A Parliamentary Department Related Standing Committee on Law then headed by Pranab Mukherjee had also recommended taking the judge to people ratio to 50 per 10 lakh from 10.
As of today, the judge to people ratio stands at 15 judges per 10 lakh people which is way less than as compared to the US, Australia, the UK and Canada.
“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,” said the CJI.