After laying the foundation stone for the Andhra Pradesh High Court complex and inaugurating the interim HC building beside it, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said that pendency of cases and lack of judges posed a big challenge for the judiciary today.
“It is alarming. There are 3 crore pending cases. But approximately 81 lakh cases are one year old so they cannot be called pending. About 50 lakh are petty cases like violation of the Motor Vehicles Act etc. What is worrisome is that there are 25 lakh cases which are 10 years old. It is not a good sign. Serious reflection is necessary. It requires commitment and devotion of judges to wipe out this black spot from the judiciary as quickly as possible,” the CJI said.
He said that nearly 5000 posts for judges in district courts were lying vacant and these vacancies would be filled by the end of this year. “There are 392 vacancies in High Courts but for 272 positions no recommendations have been received yet. So I appeal to Chief Justices of the states to send recommendations. 130 appointments are in the pipeline,” he said.
Stating that dispensation of justice and morality go together, the CJI said justice is based on moral principles. “Whether is a criminal court or civil, when justice is done it is ultimately the principles of morality entwined with the law, which are upheld.”
“As you go higher into constitutional courts, the situation becomes more complex. How a state should treat it’s citizens, whether the state is discriminating, whether the state is being unfair, if a legislation is invalid… all these have to be tested on the touchstone of moral principles,” Gogoi said.
“Now here is the danger. As judges, we do not permit our individual notions to affect our judgement and decision-making process. Therefore what has been evolved are principles of constitutional morality which is a better and safer and realistic test. As judges, we never do something that we have to justify. The very thought of a judge justifying a decision is wrong. We do what is right, what we think is right guided by constitutional morality.”
Earlier, the CJI laid the foundation stone for a high court building in Nelapadu in Amaravati capital region where a Justice City will be developed. He also inaugurated the interim Andhra Pradesh High Court complex at Amaravati. The two-storied building constructed at Nelapadu has 16 court halls, including 12 on the first floor. The building, constructed at a cost of Rs 150 crore, has 2.70 lakh square feet office space.
Construction of the actual HC building at Justice City in the capital region is yet to start. A separate high court for Andhra Pradesh came into existence on January 1, four and a half years after the state bifurcation.
President Ram Nath Kovind had on December 26 issued orders for setting up a separate court for Andhra. Until the separate court was set up, the high court at Hyderabad was the common court for AP and Telangana.
As finishing touches are still being given to the interim complex, the high court started functioning from a temporary building at Vijayawada. The HC will continue to function from the temporary building at Vijayawada until the interim complex is fully ready.
At least 1000 advocates working in the High Court at Hyderabad have shifted to Vijayawada after the new court was set up. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had invited the Chief Justice of India to inaugurate the interim building and lay its foundation stone.