Gujarat High Court’s chief justice questions state’s much talked-about development model

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The much talked about Gujarat model may have faced intense scrutiny from the political adversaries of the ruling BJP, but this time the person questioning the state’s development model is no less than the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court.

According to an Indian Express report, Justice R Subhash Reddy on Sunday asked if Gujarat could be called a developed state in light of alarming rise in the number of pending cases in courts across the state.

While addressing a seminar organised by Rajkot Bar Association and Bar Council of Gujarat, Justice Reddy said that 22.42 lakh cases were pending before various courts in the state.

Recalling an incident from last month’s Chief Justices’ conference, Justice Reddy said, “Recently, I was in the chief justices’ conference. One of the items of was state-wise pendency of cases. A young law officer representing the Supreme Court gave excellent presentation — power-point presentation with maps. Gujarat was in red colour at the top with 22.42 lakh cases pending in various subordinate judiciary.

Pendency in the (Gujarat) High Court is not that high compared to other state high courts. But in Gujarat, 22.42 lakh cases!… Yes, now we have to say, are we doing our job? You advocates, we judges are responsible for this. If we we are delaying cases for decades that is not justice to the poor litigants who come to us.”

Justice Reddy said that high pendency of cases was undermining development credentials of Gujarat and that there was an urgent need to address the issue.

He said, “We have to reduce pendency on mission mode. That’s how we can compare Gujarat with many other states. Gujarat is a developed state. But we cannot say that keeping this number of arrears (in mind). This is one of the factors to asses a state how it is a developed state. It is 22 lakh arrears — this number of cases — and we call it a developed state!”

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