Mumbai: President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday termed as "disturbing" the backlog of cases in various courts in the country but appreciated the efforts of Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam in taking initiatives to remove the "serious distortion" in the judiciary.
"The strength and effectiveness of the judiciary, which is the guardian of our democracy, depends on the two pillars of the justice delivery system -- quality and speed.
"Of these pillars of an effective judicial architecture, our system is weak in speedily dispensing justice. The backlog of cases in our courts is very disturbing," Mukherjee said while inaugurating the 15th anniversary of the Advocates Association of Western India here.
The President noted that a staggering 31 million cases were pending in Indian courts.
He, however, appreciated the CJI for taking steps to deal with the issue.
"I am happy. The Chief Justice, while apprising us, has dealt with the subject. And not only has he dealt with the subject...He has taken initiatives for removing the serious distortion in our judiciary," he said, addressing a huge gathering of lawyers here.
Besides Sathasivam, Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal, Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and Bombay High Court Chief Justice Mohit Shah were also present.
"I need hardly emphasise that justice delayed is justice denied. This can only be rectified with your active cooperation," Mukherjee said, urging lawyers to seek adjournments only when the reasons are compelling.
"This is of singular importance as delays increase the cost of litigation, rendering justice a distance mirage for the vast majority," he said.
The President said lawyers have a duty to ensure that no one is denied justice.