FORMER CHIEF Justice of India R C Lahoti has said that retired High Court and Supreme Court judges were willing to assist State Government in reducing pre-litigation cases by associating with government heads of the departments in the decision making process. Judges have legal knowledge, experience, integrity and capacity to think, he remarked.
He said he had made a proposal to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan this morning and hoped to have a meeting with him soon in this regard. He expressed the need to dispose of cases at administrative level. This, he said, would lessen the burden of judiciary.
Talking to newspersons here today, Justice Lahoti said that 70 per cent litigations pending in the court were against government or semi-government agencies. This was because officials lacked ability and courage to take decision and it was bureaucratic mentality to procrastinate.
On judicial reforms, Justice Lahoti, who will be next president of Association of Retired Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts of India, said politicians were least concerned about the issue, as it does not contribute to vote bank. “In the past 57 years, we did not have single commission or committee on judicial reforms. There have been panels to improve the breed of cattle, but not for improving legal system,” he averred.
When asked about judges’ tendency to procrastinate where one judge disposes 20 cases in a day while another takes a month to dispose of the same number, he said there were black sheep everywhere, but judges compared to government officials were a better lot.
The former CJI, however, refused to comment when told that corruption charges have been levelled against SC judges, especially by acclaimed lawyer Ram Jethmalani in his book, ‘Small men big egos’. He said, “Ram Jethmalani is a big man. Therefore I wouldn’t like to comment on him.”
When asked what prevented constitution of retired SC and HC judges to clear backlog of cases, he said he had proposed it to Prime Minister in 2001-02, but no steps had been taken so far in this direction. “It’s up to Union and state government to take such a step,” he added.