Wake up to new types of cases, says CJI

Says list includes mercy pleas of death row convicts, Majithia wage board and “other frivolous litigations”

December 16, 2013 03:41 am | Updated November 16, 2021 12:40 pm IST - CHENNAI:

A new type of jurisprudence cases were cropping in the courts and judicial officers had to be prepared to tackle it, Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam said on Sunday.

Delivering the inaugural address at the launch of ‘Redefining legal practice for advocates – generation next,’ organised by Tamil Nadu State Judicial Academy (TNSJA), Justice Sathasivam said: “I have not heard about such cases in my earlier posting as judge in the High Courts or for six years in the Supreme Court. They take much of our time. So, the judicial officer has to understand the subject to tackle it effectively.”

Justice Sathasivam referred to several cases that were going on for years, such as long-pending mercy petitions of death-row convicts, Majithia Wage Board for Journalists and Non-journalists and other frivolous litigations which consumed the precious judicial time.

He referred to October-December as a lean period as it was filled with festival holidays. Though, he was willing to work on some of the holidays to reduce pendency of cases, both the Bar and Bench members were not willing to do so.

“The Bar and Bench serve the judicial institution that is overburdened. It has to work overtime to meet the newer challenges. In this onerous task, no one connected with the administration of justice, can afford to be idle. This applies to the lawyers’ community as well,” he said after releasing the Academy’s logo.

As on date, 14 executions were stayed by the Supreme Court as the mercy petitions of death-row convicts are pending.

“We heard the arguments for one month and now are struggling to dispose the cases. The aggrieved parties are developing new jurisprudence by referring to a judgement of a Constitution Bench,” he said.

Though the advocates agreed that their clients had indulged in heinous crimes, they wondered how long a mercy petition could be kept pending? “Two cases are pending for 13 years. We may take a decision by January or February. We must develop a restraint of law,” he said.

Regarding the wage board for journalists and non-journalists, he said the matter had been posted for hearing on January 7, 2014. The newspaper management had sought two days to give a reply and the case would be concluded by the end of January or February.

As many as 70 lakh cases were cleared in the nation-wide Lok Adalat held from November 23 to 30, of which 40 lakh were pre-litigation cases. The Madras High Court has topped the list by disposing of a maximum number of cases.

Justice Sathasivam said that both judges and lawyers had a great role to play and they should make heartiest and transparent efforts to strengthen the judicial system. The 21 century posed several challenges and both Bar and Bench must strive to maintain public confidence in the rule of law.

Madras High Court Judge and president, Board of Governors of TNSJA, Chitra Venkataraman gave an overall view of two-day refresher training programme for advocates having less than 10 years of practice.

“So far, 1,000 advocates have enrolled for the refresher training course. The training will be imparted in Vellore, Salem, Tirunelveli, Puducherry, Thanjavur, Tiruchi, Chennai, Madurai and Coimbatore,” she said.

Advocate-General A.L. Somayaji urged the advocates to upgrade their knowledge and skill. Madras High Court Chief Justice and TNJSA Patron-in-chief Rajesh Kumar Agrawal spoke on the essence of good lawyering, while Supreme Court Judge Ibrahim Kalifulla spoke about legal profession — challenges, prospects and art of advocacy.

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