CJI downplays objection over Good Friday

Updated - April 02, 2016 02:31 pm IST

Published - April 05, 2015 11:06 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu on Sunday downplayed Justice Kurian Joseph’s objection to the holding of the Chief Justices conference on a Good Friday, saying it was an internal family issue to be settled within the four walls of the judiciary.

“I am the head of the family... if one member questions me, we will settle it ourselves,” the Chief Justice told the media on the sidelines of the Joint Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices here on Sunday. The Chief Justice expressed his misgivings about the controversy, calling it “unfortunate.”

Justice Kurian Joseph, in a phone interview with The Hindu on Saturday, explained that his written objection to the Chief Justice was an expression of his anguish over the way “secularism is being tinkered with.” Justice Joseph did not attend the joint conference on Sunday. He had also declined the Prime Minister’s invitation to the Saturday dinner for top judges, including the Chief Justices of 24 High Courts.

Criminal trials will be completed in 5 years: CJI

Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu said here on Sunday that the joint conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices had decided to complete criminal trials in five years.

“We have taken a decision to try our best that five year should be the maximum time to finish a case [at the district level]. My priority is that it should not go beyond two years. But please keep in mind the judge-population ratio and lack of infrastructure also,” he said during an interaction with the media.

There are 2.64 crore undecided cases in the subordinate courts and 42 lakh pending in the High Courts. Earlier in the inaugural session of the conference, the CJI said the current judge0population ratio of 1:61,865 was “unacceptable.”

On the delay in deciding the December 16 Delhi gang rape case, the CJI said the appeal filed by the four condemned men came to the apex court only last year. “There are already 23 death reference cases pending in the SC. It [Delhi case] would certainly be decided on priority, if the matter is mentioned before the court,” he said.

Chief Justice Dattu said the highest judiciary worked 24x7 during 190 working days, and spent court holidays writing judgments.

“It is not an easy-go life. Having 20 years experience as judge, I can say, we work 24x7,” he said.

Law Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda said that almost 96 per cent of the subordinate courts had been computerised.

‘No key events are held’

In his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Justice Joseph had said: “Irrespective of the religion, Diwali, Holi, Dussehra, Eid, Bakrid, Christmas, Easter etc. are great days of festival celebrations in the neighbourhood. Your good self would kindly appreciate that no important programmes are held during the sacred and auspicious days of Diwali, Dussehra, Holi, Eid, Bakrid etc., though we have holidays during that period as well.”

“I regret my inability to attend the event as the conference coincides with the Good Friday ceremonies. Good Friday is a day of great religious significance to us, marking the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ,” he had said.

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan said he supported Justice Joseph’s stand. He said the right to freely profess and practise religion was protected under the Constitution.

“I stand for the truth. I stand for a cause,” Justice Joseph had said on Saturday.

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