Chief Justice of India TS Thakur said the Indian judiciary was facing a crisis of credibility over pending cases, during a function to mark the 150th anniversary of the Allahabad High Court Sunday. Allahabad High Court Chief Justice DY Chandrachud also called for laws to be interpreted in accordance with contemporary needs.
The statement of concern by the chief justice of India came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for the expedition of long-pending cases. President Pranab Mukherjee also raised the issue Sunday, stating "justice delayed is justice denied."
"We have great challenges in future and we need to get ready to meet those challenges. Challenges from outside do not disturb us so much. We all face them well but we need to look after and what need to be aware of are challenges from within," the chief justice of India said.
"When I speak about challenges from within I am referring to the crisis of credibility that we face in the country today. Judges need to be conscientious of in their discharge of duties, punctuality, judicial retribute and effort to do the best is what is the need of the hour," according to the Press Trust of India.
Justice Thakur blamed the Bar for "not cooperating" in the disposal of cases.
"At times judges feel that the delay in the disposal of cases is only because the Bar does not, at times, cooperate," he said.
Former Chief Justice of India HL Dattu had also pointed out last year that the long delays in disposing cases was the biggest challenge to India's legal system.
According to reports, the number of pending cases in the 24 high courts in the country could reach the 1 crore-mark by the end of this year due to a high number of vacancies. CJI Thakur also reportedly pointed out the problem of vacancies during his address at the centenary function of the Patna High Court Saturday.
"Almost no new appointment has been made in the past 18 months owing to a pending litigation that has been resolved recently," Justice Thakur said, according to Hindustan Times, adding that 468 of nearly 900 posts of high court judges were still vacant.
Meanwhile, the Allahabad High Court chief justice called on the judiciary to safeguard "dialogue and dissent," while also calling for interpretation of laws in accordance with the times.
"Judges, in the administration of justice, ought to make a wise use of judicial powers. They need to discharge their duties in a manner that promotes dialogue and protects dissent. This is because dialogue and dissent are essential for any democracy to survive and function," Justice Chandrachud said, according to PTI.
"Law tends to follow precedents. But it must be kept in mind that administration of justice also necessarily involves interpretation of laws, that may have been laid down ages ago, in accordance with contemporary needs and challenges," he said.