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Justice Ranjan Gogoi can usher in a sea change in the Indian judiciary

The Chief Justice of India has already ushered in administrative changes in the Supreme Court for quick disposal of criminal appeals

editorials Updated: Dec 03, 2018 11:42 IST
Hindustan Times
ranjan gogoi,chief justice gogoi,supreme court of india
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi addresses the inaugural function of Constitution Day celebrations, New Delhi, November 26(PTI)

Fifty-odd days is far too short a time to take stock of the work done by a new Chief Justice of India (CJI), but given that Justice Ranjan Gogoi’s term is just over 13 months long, it is clear he can’t dawdle. And the 46th Chief Justice of India isn’t . When Justice Gogoi took over as CJI, he inherited, among other problems, the complicated issue of increasing vacancies of judges in high courts, poor disposal rates of cases, and corruption in the judiciary.The first thing he did after taking over was to talk to the chief justices of the high courts, asking them to focus on getting judicial work done and on the need to combat corruption in the judiciary. He requested all chief justices that judges in the high courts not take leave during working days and remain present in court rooms all through working hours. These may be basic steps, but they do help with the disposal of cases.

The second issue that has occupied Justice Gogoi is the appointment of judges to the high courts and the Supreme Court. He has, in the short time he has been in charge, made four new appointments to the top court and cleared appointments of 68 high court judges (both have been done by the Supreme Court collegium, which he heads), which is unprecedented. He has also stressed on the importance of filling vacancies in the lower judiciary so that cases do not clog the system. A bench headed by Justice Gogoi has, suo motu, registered a petition to monitor the filling up of more than 5,000 posts that are lying vacant in the trial courts. The inadequate number of judges is one of the reasons for high pendency in the lowest rung of judiciary where over 27 million cases are still awaiting a final decision.

Cleaning up the judiciary is on his agenda too and Gogoi has told the chief justices of the high courts not to “hesitate in withdrawing judicial work from judges who are under a cloud”. The CJI has already ushered in administrative changes in the Supreme Court for the quick disposal of criminal appeals that are awaiting final disposal in the court for more than a decade. If the changes Justice Gogoi has ushered in are continued at least till the end of his term, there will be a sea change in the way justice is administered in the country.

First Published: Dec 03, 2018 10:28 IST