Unfair to Judge Indian Judiciary Based on Pending Cases: CJI Ramana

CJI Ramana said that pendency isn't a useful indicator to judge courts as it doesn't show when cases were filed.

2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>File photo of CJI Ramana.</p></div>

Labeling the Indian judiciary as inefficient solely on account of cases pending before it is an "overstatement and an uncharitable analysis," Chief Justice of India NV Ramana said on Saturday, 17 July, reported The Indian Express.

Addressing the India-Singapore Mediation Summit 2021, Chief Justice Ramana said that pendency is not a "useful indicator" of the Indian judiciary is functioning as it takes into account all cases that have not been disposed, without mentioning for how long they have been pending.

“Often-quoted statistic that ‘pendency’ in Indian courts has reached 45 million cases, which is perceived as the inability of the Indian judiciary to cope with the case load… is an overstatement and an uncharitable analysis”
NV Ramana, Chief Justice of India.

Blaming what he called "luxurious litigation," behind India's high pendency, the Chief Justice said that resourceful parties often 'frustrate' the country's judicial system by filing "numerous proceedings across the judicial system."


Mahabharata & Mediation

Asserting that the earliest examples of mediation can be traced back to the Mahabharata – where "Lord Krishna attempted to mediate the dispute between the Pandavas and Kauravas” – CJI Ramana said that alternative dispute resolution processes, like mediation and conciliation, can reduce pendency and save time.

Maintaining that mediation is deeply embedded in the Indian culture, CJI Ramana called for a movement that would popularise mediation as a faster and cost-effective mode of dispute-resolution.

“Prescribing mediation as a mandatory first step for resolution of every allowable dispute will go a long way in promoting mediation,” he said, adding that “perhaps, an omnibus law in this regard is needed to fill the vacuum”.
NV Ramana, Chief Justice of India.

Addressing another event to mark the inauguration of live streaming of Gujarat High Court proceedings, CJI Ramana said that a judge may feel the pressure of public scrutiny during live hearings, but must always resist the "popular perception".

“A judge cannot be swayed by popular opinion. Yes, with increased public gaze, he might become a subject of multiple debates, (but) that should never deter him from his duty to protect the right of one against the might of many," he said.

Calling the Supreme Court the "guardian of Indian democracy", CJI Ramana also said that people approach the courts as they know that "when things go wrong, the judiciary will stand by them".

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