Hyderabad: Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana on Friday said he is making efforts to fill up vacancies in the judiciary and to improve judicial infrastructure in the country, besides addressing issues relating to security of judges and others.
Our judiciary is overburdened, he said, while speaking after inaugurating the two-day Telangana State Judicial Officers Conference here.
Justice Ramana said he has taken up filling up of vacancies and improving the infrastructure of the judiciary soon after taking over as CJI.
"The reason is access to justice is possible only when we provide sufficient number of courts as well as infrastructure," he said.
Justice Ramana said he wanted to see that there are no pending vacancies either in the high courts, Supreme Court or the district judiciary.
He also sought to see that the judicial system is strengthened. Chief Justice Ramana added judicial infrastructure was found to be inadequate in different parts of the country.
In the case of Telangana, the CJI said he had cleared the pending file for increasing the number of judges from 24 to 42 without any delay.
He requested the judicial officers to create a congenial environment for the litigants and to always remember the human aspects of the dispute.
"Law cannot be far from equity. It is important to project the human face of the judiciary whenever you have scope for invoking your discretion," he said.
The judicial officers must sensitise themselves to different vulnerabilities of the parties, including minors, women and persons with disabilities who may have different requirements, and treat everyone with respect, he said.
Highlighting the significant role played by the judicial officers in the Constitutional scheme of things, he said the officers should apply their mind independently on the materials presented before them.
"For instance, the requirement of the Criminal Procedure Code are not mere formalities. They are an important check on the executive excesses and represent substantive rights of the accused," he said.
The judicial officers must keep themselves updated and they will be able to apply the changing law and precedents to cases before them and ensure justice only when they are aware of them, he said.
He stressed on the judicial officers performing their duties without any fear.
"I am aware of the increasing physical attacks on judges. I am doing my utmost to prevent such occurrences. Directions were issued to improve the security of the judicial officers both inside and outside court rooms," Justice Ramana said.
Acknowledging the importance of financial well being, the CJI said: "Only when you are free from financial worries, you will be able to give your best. Let me assure you that I am taking up that issue related to pay commission and you will soon get a good news on this front".
He said the Constitutional Courts have been functioning with full potential as COVID-19 pandemic has become less intense.
He urged the judicial officers to make sincere efforts to spare extra time for court, beyond regular Court Hours, as part of efforts to deal with the backlog of cases.
He appreciated Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao for his proactive role in facilitating the functioning of the judiciary in the state.
Later in the evening, CJI Ramana was felicitated at the High Court premises here by the Bar Council of the State of Telangana and Telangana High Court Advocates Association.
Speaking on the occasion, he said a convention would be held in Delhi on April 29 and 30 on the Judicial Infrastructure Corporation proposed by him to address the issues of judicial infrastructure in courts all over the country.
The convention would be attended by state Chief Ministers, Chief Justices of High Courts, Union Law Minister and the Prime Minister, he said.
He felt that the problem of basic facilities in courts would be resolved if a decision is taken on the matter and the proposal is successful.
Talking about his efforts to fill up vacancies of judges, he said he hopes to send proposals for the appointment of about 200 High Court judges by the end of May this year.
Justice Ramana also said he had come under attack on social media that he was motivating people for a revolution when he had modified Karl Marx's famous quote 'Workers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your chains' in support of women in judiciary at an event in Delhi.
The CJI said he would not back off if someone thought it to be motivating to begin a revolution when he speaks about ensuring justice to the oppressed and those sections of society who have not not received justice.
Highlighting the need for inclusivity in judiciary, he said inclusivity does not mean ensuring adequate representation of women alone but all sections of society and all regions.
Observing that junior lawyers in rural areas and others lost their livelihood due to the pandemic, he hoped that senior advocates would think of providing some help to the former.
He said he had written to the Centre and state governments to provide financial support to junior lawyers who lost their livelihood.
The Centre had replied saying it had provided some sort of loan to some lawyers and chartered accountants but it was not ready to extend financial support, he said.
Justice Ramana said the newly set up International Arbitration and Mediation Centre in Hyderabad would be useful to the lawyers financially, bringing in new career prospects for them.
He said he has decided to set up a centre for Supreme Court's all-India judicial data management in Hyderabad.