CJI responds to Kiren Rijiju's concern over huge case backlogs
Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana, responding to the concerns expressed by Union minister for law and justice Kiren Rijiju over the huge case backlogs in the country, on Saturday said that the non-filling up of judicial vacancies was the major reason for the pendency of cases in the country. Ramana and Rijiju were attending the All India Legal Services Authorities Meet at Jaipur.
Expressing concern over the rising number of pending cases in the country, he said such cases are going to be 5 crore but the pendency can be reduced with coordination between the judiciary and the government.
The government and judiciary should have good coordination to achieve the objective of delivering justice to the people, Rijiju said.
Ramana said it is his responsibility to respond to the comments of the law minister regarding pendency.
“I am glad that he has taken up the issue of pendency. We judges also, when we go outside the country, we also face the same question: how many years will a case take place? You all know the reasons for pendency. I need not elaborate on it. I already indicated this in the last chief justices-chief ministers conference. You all know the major important reason is the non-filling up of the judicial vacancies and not improving the judicial infrastructure,” the CJI said. Ramana also called for steps to address the "grave" issue of the high number of undertrial prisoners that is affecting the criminal justice system, saying there is a need to question procedures that lead to prolonged incarceration without any trial.
Out of 6.10 lakh prisoners in the country, nearly 80 per cent are undertrial prisoners, he said and lamented that in the criminal justice system, the process "is a punishment".
He described jails as “black boxes” and said that prisons have a different impact on different categories of prisoners, particularly those belonging to marginalised communities.
“In the criminal justice system, the process is a punishment. From indiscriminate arrest to difficulty in obtaining bail, the process leading to prolonged incarceration of undertrial prisoners needs urgent attention,” he said. “We need a holistic plan of action to increase the efficiency of the administration of the criminal justice system,” the CJI said at the inaugural session of the 18th All India Legal Services Authority in Jaipur.
Ramana said that prolonged incarceration in huge numbers without a trial needs attention. However, he said that the goal should not be limited to enabling the early release of undertrial prisoners.
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