We don’t have freedom even to buy a pencil: CJI

Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha on Thursday said restrictions on the highest judiciary had left it grappling with a growing caseload.

“In the U.S. Supreme Court, a judge has the freedom to select four law clerks of his/her choice. Here we do not even have the freedom to buy a pencil,” CJI Lodha remarked in court.

The CJI made the comment while heading a five-judge Constitution Bench examining the validity of the death penalty awarded to three accused in the Dharmapuri bus burning incident of 2000 in which three college girls were killed.

The CJI said lawyers argue for days on a single case. Since 2011, the pendency had increased from 58,519 cases to 63,843 as on May 1, 2014.

“Lawyers promise to finish their oral arguments in a case within half an hour. But then they request for another day, then another. In the U.S., lawyers have to stop the moment a red light is switched on in the courtroom. How many lawyers would agree to this here?” the CJI asked.

The CJI recently proposed to have courts open on all 365 days to cut pendency. Lawyers opposed it saying they need the annual holidays. Justice A.K. Sikri, on the Bench, said the U.S. Supreme Court had cut pendency drastically. “That is only because they have been given the powers to sift the cases in their chambers and decide which ones are fit to be heard,” Justice Rohinton Nariman pitched in. “Our lawyers will not agree to this ... a system should be put in place,” the CJI said.

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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 4:40:44 AM |

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