CJI takes a dig at PM Modi: ‘We work during break, not just go to Manali’

"Nothing has moved" since 1987 when the Law Commission had recommended increase in the number of judges from then 10 judges per 10 lakh people to 50, an unusually emotional Justice Thakur said.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: April 25, 2016 2:57:50 am
CJI breaks down, cji, CJI emotional, chief justice, CJI Thakur breaks down, ts thakur, cji thakur, modi, judges As of today, the judge to people ratio stands at 15 judges to 10 lakh people which is way less than as compared to the US, Australia, the UK and Canada.

IN A strong rebuttal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment on judges having a long vacation, Chief Justice of India T S Thakur Sunday said judges don’t go to hill stations to enjoy the summer break, but spend this time on writing judgments and on clearing their desks so that fresh cases can be taken up.

The Prime Minister referred to the vacation, especially the month-long summer break in the Supreme Court, during his brief address at the joint conference of chief ministers and chief justices of high courts. He said he had questioned the long vacation when he attended a similar conference as Gujarat Chief Minister.

Later, while interacting with the media, Justice Thakur said: “Do you think we go to Manali or some other hill stations to enjoy ourselves? Let me first tell you it is only three week’s break. Who will write the judgments.especially the constitution bench judgments? My brother judge (Justice J S Khehar) heard the NJAC during the break and then took a vacation to write the judgment,” said Justice Thakur.

“If he thinks we have long vacations, he is entitled to hold on to his views.it is his views. But it is only a judge, his wife and children can tell you how much judges enjoy in the vacations,” Justice Thakur said.

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The Prime Minister, Justice Thakur said, should instead urge the lawyers to come forward to argue in vacation since judges are always ready to sit during the break but lawyers remain elusive. “His advice should be to the Bar,” he said.

The Chief Justice said that Justice Khehar, who had joined the media interaction by then, kept telling him that one year as a judge makes him lose two years of a lifetime. “I am glad I am still alive after 23 years as a judge. But I must tell you it is a very stressful job. You have to take a break to keep your sanity,” he said.
Justice Thakur also reacted to a proposal mooted by the Prime Minister for a joint deliberation among representatives of the judiciary and government to find ways to cut down on pendency of cases.

“The only solution to this is to increase the number of judges. Three senior-most Supreme Court judges and 24 high court judges put their heads together and came out with only solution – increase the number of judges. Our doors are always open for a discussion but how else would you decide 3.38 crore cases?” he asked.

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