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Be more proactive, am watching – new CJI Ranjan Gogoi tells high court chief justices

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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.

Also read: Indian courts need MBAs and not Chief Justice to deal with pendency

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.

Subordinate judiciary

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.

Also read: No time to waste, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi begins first day with a bang


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.

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  1. Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist,Barnala (Punjab)

    Wonderful and innovative initiative on the part of CJI Justice Ranjan Gogoi to hold video conference with the Chief Justices of the High Courts of the nation !

    His sounding a note of caution pertaining to holding of review after three weeks period is also worthy of appreciation ! This measure on his part will pay rich dividends in times to come because the High Court Chief Justices, Judges and Sub-Ordinate judiciary in the country will be on its toes remaining fine tuned in expediting now the earlier on slow justice delivery system of India !

    His concern for prisoners languishing in various jails of India deserves a pat ! He will do very well in this direction if he took a monthly feedback especially in this sensitive cause monitoring the things quite frequently !

    The vital factor instrumental in mounting up the pendency of cases in India is unjustified and casual “adjournments ” in the courts !
    He will also do very well to explore new and suitable devices to arrest this malady of “undue and unnecessary adjournments”
    in future !

    The nation expects a lot more swift improvements and reforms in the functioning of judiciary in near future too under his inspiring stewardship !

    Prof PK Sharma, Freelance Journalist
    Pom Anm Nest,Barnala(Punjab )

  2. Well begun Sir, particularly the issues relating to under trials languishing in Jails that was raised by CJI Lodha and a few thousands were released as well particularly those whose period in jail as under trials came to be more than the maximum period of punishment that they would have got if proved guilty. This is really well begun but it should not take more than a month. Subordinate Judiciary is in shambles without infrastructure and vacancy of judges galore with record keeping being not computerized it is problematic. Particularly the role of Police in filing charge sheet in time is creating more inconvenience and harassment for the ordinary citizens. Police must not be allowed time to file charge sheet unless warranted. This provides Police a tool in their hands to harass public on behalf of Politicians and if the charges are not proved or is proved to be false Police must be accordingly punished and for that Supreme court must prescribe. Ranjan Gogoi the CJI has aroused curious expectations and people are at rest to find this CJI of the People not of the Govt. which is the greatest of the litigants. It is misfortune for the people of India that the greatest litigants have the power to harass and embarass the Judiciary and as such CJI Gogoi must set the record right.


  4. A good start. Undertrials outnumbering convicts 2 : 1 is a shame. In some cases, they have spent more time in jail than the ultimate sentence. I still remember – with great respect – CJI Thakur’s public tears when he spoke about vacancies, for he understood the human suffering that delayed justice was causing.

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