‘’I am what I am and cannot change myself’’: CJI Ranjan Gogoi
Justice Gogoi is well known for his strictness and penchant to go by the rulebook and he himself made it audible while speaking at a function organised in his honour by the Supreme Court Bar Association SCBA
NEW DELHI: Justice Gogoi is well known for his strictness and penchant to go by the rule-book and he himself made it audible while speaking at a function organised in his honour by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA).“I am what I am and I cannot change myself,” the CJI said while referring to SCBA president Vikas Singh’s remarks that Justice Gogoi is “strict and perfectionist”.
The change of guard in the Supreme Court (SC) with Justice Ranjan Gogoi taking over as the Chief Justice of India (CJI) might lead to a noticeable change in court proceedings as the CJI made it clear that he will continue to be “strict and perfectionist” in dealing with cases and judicial administration. He also divulged his plan to bring in reforms in the judicial system and fill up the vacancies, particularly in the lower courts. The vast vacancies in lower courts and HCs are a stumbling block in the way of speedy justice and quick disposal of cases.
The CJI assured that he will make all-out effort to fill up the posts in the next 3-4 months. “Time is short. We are making efforts for best results in the shortest time,” he said.
There are 5,925 vacant posts of judicial officers in district and subordinate courts as of now and vacancies in HCs increased to 40% on August 31 with 427 posts falling vacant and the working strength of judges coming down to 652 against a total approved strength of 1,079. Going by the current rate of appointments of judges in high courts, and considering that 75-85 judges retire on an average every year, it will take at least 15 years to fill up the existing 427 vacancies in all the 24 HCs.
The CJI also highlighted the need to maintain the “aura and dignity” of office of judgeship. Referring to the suggestion of Attorney General K K Venugopal who said salary of judges be hiked at least 3-4 times to attract competent persons for judgeship, the CJI said, “There will not be many takers (for judgeship) and it will not work if only salary is increased or retirement age is increased unless the dignity and aura of the office is maintained.”
Justice Gogoi had on October 1 said that twin issues—huge pendency of cases and justice not being attainable to the poor and marginalised sections of society—worried him and hinted that his priority as head of the judiciary would be to deal with these issues.