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Inadequate judicial infrastructure, vacancies are reasons for pending court cases, says former CJI

Justice N.V. Ramana was delivering Advocate V.C. Rajagopalachariar memorial lecture at VIT

January 24, 2023 06:50 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:18 am IST - VELLORE

Former Chief Justice of India Justice N.V. Ramana delivering the Advocate V.C. Rajagopalachariar memorial lecture at VIT, Vellore, on Tuesday.

Former Chief Justice of India Justice N.V. Ramana delivering the Advocate V.C. Rajagopalachariar memorial lecture at VIT, Vellore, on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: C.Venkatachalapathy

Inadequate judicial infrastructure and vacancies remain the major reasons for pending court cases in the country, said former Chief Justice of India Justice N.V. Ramana in Vellore on Tuesday.

Delivering the Advocate V.C. Rajagopalachariar memorial lecture at VIT, Justice Ramana said the setting up of the National Judicial Infrastructure Authority was aimed at making optimum use of available funds in augmenting judicial infrastructure. Unfortunately, the proposal for infrastructure authority did not come through. “As States faced funds crunch, they were unable to mobilise their contribution of 40% for judicial infrastructure, leaving the Central funds unutilised. Many courts do not have washrooms, libraries and chambers,” he said.  

The former Chief Justice was responding to issues related to Indian judiciary raised by G. Viswanathan, founder chancellor, VIT. Another key contributor for huge pending cases in the country, the former CJI said, was judicial vacancies. In his tenure as CJI, he was able to appoint more than 260 judges for various High Courts and 11 judges for Supreme Court including Justice Nagarathna, who will be the first woman Chief Justice of India soon. Vacancies in various tribunals including CAT were also filled.

On the high and unaffordable costs of litigation, Justice Ramana said when he was heading the National Legal Services Authority, many schemes were introduced to attract talented lawyers to extend free legal aid to those who are in need. Senior advocates were also persuaded to offer pro-bono services to the poor and the needy.

Mr. Viswanathan said advocate Rajagopalachariar was his mentor under whom he worked as a junior lawyer in the 1960s. Born in Chittoor district, Rajagopalachariar moved to Vellore after it was bifurcated from Chittoor as a separate district within Madras Presidency in 1920 to practice law at Kancheepuram court. He was known for his simplicity and ensuring education for all. “As per estimates, over five crore cases are pending in various courts including 70,000 cases in the Supreme Court alone. In fact, I was told that even for adjournments, litigants have to pay a fee of ₹1,000 per day,” Mr. Visawanathan said.

On the occasion, Justice Ramana made floral tributes to the portrait of Rajagopalachariar in the presence of T.M. Vijayaraghavalu, advocate; V.V. Gopal, dean, VIT Business School; Sankar Viswanathan, vice-president, VIT, and K. Sakthhi Srinivasan, professor, VIT Business School.

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