Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri, who was sworn in as the 31st chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana high court at Haryana Raj Bhawan on Sunday evening, said that "in India, judges work more" than their counterparts in many other countries.
"I have been to other countries and have attended many international conferences. In India, judges work more. The US Supreme Court decides 70 to 80 cases a year. Whereas the Indian Supreme Court decides these many cases in a day," said the new chief justice after taking oath of office administered by Haryana governor Jagannath Pahadia.
He emphasised that since there was a huge shortage of judges in Indian courts, every post should be filled. Before getting clearance to take over as the chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana high court, justice Sikri was the acting chief justice of the Delhi high court. Now, the strength of judges in the Punjab and Haryana high court has reached 42.
When asked about his priorities, he said he would try to work for judicial reforms and to raise the standard of the judicial academy besides emphasising on arbitration, mediation and conciliation.
Replying to a question about the measures to bring down the huge pendency of cases, justice Sikri said he would look into the pendency of civil and criminal writs. He said he would also take steps to ensure proper case management system within the constraints.
Asked about the specific steps in the speedy justice system, justice Sikri said, "Though justice delayed is justice denied, justice hurried is justice buried."
He said he would look into various vacancies in the courts and would try to make early appointments. Born on March 7, 1954, justice Sikri completed his LLB from University of Delhi in 1977 and later LLM from the same university. He got enrolled as an advocate in July 1977 with the Bar Council of Delhi and practised in Delhi, dealing with all types of cases with specialisation in constitutional cases, labour, service and arbitration matters.
He was designated as senior advocate by the Delhi High Court in September 1997 and was elevated as judge of the Delhi high court in July 1999.
The oath-taking ceremony was attended by Punjab governor Shivraj Patil, Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, and union ministers Pawan Kumar Bansal and Kumari Selja.
Justice Sikri's family, judges of the Delhi and Punjab and Haryana high courts, besides senior officers of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh were present at the function.