On Sunday, an emotional Cheif Justice of India T S Thakur left everyone surprised by publicly breaking down lamenting “inaction” by the Executive to increase the number of judges from the present 21,000 to 40,000 to handle the “avalanche” of litigations.
PTI quoted the choked Justice Thakur as saying, “…And therefore, it is not only in the name of a litigant or people languishing in jails but also in the name of development of the country, its progress that I beseech you to rise to the occasion and realise that it is not enough to criticise. You cannot shift the entire burden on the judiciary.”
Justice Thakur was addressing the inaugural session of Joint Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts.
He said that since 1987, when the Law Commission had recommended increase in the number of judges from then 10 judges per 10 lakh people to 50, “nothing has moved”
“Then comes inaction by the government as the increase (in the strength of judges) does not take place,” he said.
He said following the Law Commission’s recommendation, the Supreme Court in 2002 had also supported increasing the strength of the judiciary. A Parliamentary Department Related Standing Committee on Law then headed by Pranab Mukherjee had also recommended taking the judge to people ratio to 50 from 10
As of Sunday, the judge to people ratio stands at 15 judges to 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.”
Later talking about his breakdown in public, Justice Thakur said, ‘Yes, I’m a sentimental man.. and it may be my weaknesses. If you have given your life to a profession… and you feel you could not bring changes in the system for good, you feel disappointed.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured him of his government’s resolve in finding a solution jointly with the judiciary.