Here's how India's new top judge is trying to fix the judicial system
- On 3 October,
Ranjan Gogoiwas sworn in as the new Chief Justice of India, replacing Dipak Misra in the process.
- Gogoi has made it clear that his major priority is clearing up the extensive
backlogof cases in the country’s courts and hastening the judicial process.
- He has recommended a number of measures, such as prohibiting judges from taking work days off unless its a medical emergency and allocating a fixed portion of time during the week to long-pending criminal appeals.
With only two weeks into his new role as India’s top judge, it seems that Gogoi has hit the ground running, as per a report in ET. His first order of business is to make judges more accountable and spend more days in court.
To prevent indiscipline and ensure that judges carry out their duties to the best of their abilities, Gogoi is in favour of formulating a more realistic punishment mechanism for judges. Currently, the only mechanism for addressing a judge’s lack of professionalism is impeachment, which is too extreme and political a step.
Gogoi has also recommended that judges be prohibited from taking work days off unless its an medical emergency and advised them against using leave travel concession during the week. The move hearkens back to an earlier
According to the National Judicial Data Grid, there are around 27.8 million cases currently pending in India’s apex and high courts - over 8% of which that have been on the backburner for more than 10 years. As of October 2018, there were 55,946 cases pending in the Supreme Court, according to its website.
To reduce the amount of criminal cases that have been pending for more than 10 years, Gogoi has implemented a measure to broaden the criminal appeals roster. As a result, on two days during the week, the first 10 cases heard by a select number of courts will be cases involving a petitioner that has been languishing in jail for longer than a decade.
In addition, upon his swearing in, Gogoi also announced a plan to fill up more than 5,000 vacant positions at subordinate courts - where a bulk of the pending cases emanate from.
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