Delhi: Chief Justice of India TS Thakur in a rebuttal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comment on judges having a long vacation said that judges don’t go to hill stations to enjoy the summer break.
He added that judges spend this time on writing judgments and on clearing their desks for new cases to be taken up, as per media reports.
He was quoted by the media as saying, "We don't go to Manali. Judges of constitutional benches write their order. When one side is ready, the other is not. Ask the Bar if they are ready."
Justice Thakur added, "Let me first tell you it is only three week’s break. My brother judge (Justice JS Khehar) heard the NJAC during the break and then took a vacation to write the judgment."
The CJI's remarks came after PM Modi referred to the vacation, especially the month-long summer break in the Supreme Court on Sunday.
Yesterday, the CJI had became emotional in the presence of PM Modi, lamenting government's "inaction" in raising the number of judges from 21,000 to 40,000 to handle mounting cases, saying, "you cannot shift the entire burden on the judiciary".
"Nothing moves", an unusually emotional Thakur had said, recalling a 1987 Law Commission recommendation to increase the number of judges from then 10 judges per 10 lakh people to 50.
"Then comes inaction by the government as the increase (in the strength of judges) does not take place," he had said in a choked voice while addressing the inaugural session of Joint Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of High Courts, as per PTI.
"...And therefore, it is not only in the name of a litigant or people languishing in jails but also in the name of development of the country, its progress that I beseech you to rise to the occasion and realise that it is not enough to criticise. You cannot shift the entire burden on the judiciary," the Chief Justice of India, who was seen wiping his eyes on three occasions, had said as the Prime Minister heard him in rapt attention.
On his part, PM Modi, who was not scheduled to speak as per the programme circulated by the Law Ministry, had said, "I can understand his (CJI's) pain as a lot of time has lapsed since 1987. Whatever has been the compulsions, but it's better to be late than never. We will do better in the future. Let us see how to move forward by reducing the burden of the past."
He had added that if constitutional barriers do not create any problems, then top ministers and senior Supreme Court judges can sit together in a closed room to find a solution to the issue.
PM Modi had also recalled that in one such conference he had attended as the Gujarat CM, he had flagged the issue of reducing vacation in courts and holding morning and evening courts but during lunch break during that event he was in for trouble as some judges had questioned the idea.
(With Agency inputs)