Ranjan Gogoi held a rare video conference with all high court chief justices Friday and told them he’d do a review in 3 weeks.
New Delhi: In what could be a first, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi Friday held a video-conference with Chief Justices (CJs) of all high courts (HC), where he spelt out his vision for the judiciary and asked the CJs to be more proactive on some important issues.
Gogoi is learnt to have told the HC chief justices that he plans a review in three weeks, when he will take stock of what has been done.
ThePrint briefs some important issues discussed at the meeting.
Releasing undertrials languishing in jails
Sources told ThePrint that in his first interaction with high court CJs, Gogoi asked them to be proactive in facilitating the release of undertrials languishing in jails. He asked the CJs to ensure that criminal appeals, especially where undertrials are entitled to bail, are heard on priority.
According to official data, thousands of undertrials continue to languish in jails across the country even though they are eligible for bail but are unable to secure it for various reasons, including lack of resources. As a result, jails continue to be overcrowded.
A 2 May report in ThePrint cited data to show that the 134 central jails with a capacity of 1,59,158 prisoners were housing 1,85,182 prisoners, with Mumbai’s Central Jail at 332 per cent occupancy rate and New Delhi’s Tihar Jail at 243 per cent.
Speedier disposal of case
Gogoi also told the HC CJs to ensure that cases are disposed quickly. He is learnt to have told the CJs that pendency of cases has turned into a big problem that needs to be tackled swiftly. He is also learnt to have asked the CJs to personally monitor the disposal of cases, including in the subordinate judiciary, through the integrated case management system.
In his interaction, Gogoi also asked the CJs to keep a closer watch on the functioning of the subordinate judiciary and also ensure transparency. He is learnt to have told the CJs that reforms in the functioning of the subordinate judiciary must be the focus of their attention. District courts must be given more focus so as to speed up the justice-delivery system, said the CJI.
He also asked the CJs to work closely with the state governments to ensure vacancies in the subordinate judiciary are filled faster and infrastructure is improved so that litigants get better justice.
Gogoi also asked the CJs to hold meetings of the HC collegiums regularly and recommend names so that the large number of vacancies can be filled. Gogoi is also learnt to have suggested to the CJs to ensure that only deserving candidates are recommended for judgeship.