Sunday, February 5, 2023

Getting more judges is not the panacea for all evils: CJI DY Chandrachud

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The Supreme Court has refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation seeking directions to double the number of judges in High Courts and district courts. The PIL was filed by BJP leader and Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha said that such petitions, were turning the system dysfunctional.

The CJI said to Advocate Upadhyaya that every evil you see does not merit a PIL and his panacea does not warrant a remedy.

The CJI said that trying to get judges fill up the existing vacancies is not an easy task .

The Court further remarked that these were all “populist measures”, and explained the difficulty in just filling up existing vacancies in High Courts.

The CJI asked Ashwini does he know that is difficult to get even 160 judges; how will get 320 judges at Allahabad High Court? The Bench said getting more judges is not the panacea of all evils.

Upadhyaya replied to the CJI that the petition was in public interest and not adversarial.

CJI Chandrachud clarified his point by saying that this is like Parliament saying in an Act that all matters will be disposed of within 6 months does not happen like this.

The CJI opined that such PIL petitions deserved to be dismissed with costs.

The bench in tone of anger said that we will make you pay infrastructural costs for making us hear your PILs. This is public time and we are not hearing genuine matters.”

Justice Narasimha went on to explain that just by increasing judges, pendency would not go away.

To this, the CJI added that there were problems regarding recruitment to subordinate courts which did not have such simplistic solutions.

The CJI further elaborated when I was in Allahabad High Court, Law Minister then had asked me to increase the judges to 25 per cent. I was like, Good Lord I cannot even fill the 160. Ask Bombay High Court Chief Justice how many young lawyers are looking to get elevated.. ask him

In light of this exchange, Upadhyay agreed to withdraw the petition.

“Withdrawal allowed. Liberty granted to file a fresh plea if any with research on statistics on recruitment, vacancies etc,” the Court recorded.

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