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Want a $5-trn economy, but your judiciary is ramshackled: Ex-CJI Ranjan Gogoi

"Who goes to the court? You go to the court and regret," Gogoi didn't mince words

India Chief Justice Former chief justice of India Ranjan Gogoi | File

Former chief justice of India Ranjan Gogoi called upon the judiciary to come with a roadmap to improve the efficiency of India's justice delivery system. He also did not mince words as he said that the Indian judiciary was ramshackled. "How important the judiciary is as a constitutional body need not be emphasized. You want a 5 trillion-dollar economy, but your judiciary is ramshackled," Gogoi, currently a Rajya Sabha MP, said at a recent event organised by a television news channel.

"Who goes to the court? You go to the court and regret," Gogoi said, adding that it is those who can afford to take chances, like the big corporates, who approach the courts. The former CJI said that if one goes to Indian courts they would have to wait endlessly for a verdict. "If you go to the court, you would be washing your dirty linen in the court. You will not get a verdict", the ex-CJI said in reply to a question on whether he would take legal action against TMC MP Mahua Moitra over her statements in the Lok Sabha that Gogoi discredited the judiciary by deciding the sexual harassment allegations against him. Without naming Moitra, Gogoi said that she did not have her facts right. 

Gogoi also highlighted the load of cases weighing on the Indian judiciary. Subordinate courts in India added about 60 lakh new cases to their workload in the year 2020. Similarly, the figure of pending cases in the high courts have gone up by about three lakh and the Supreme Court admitted 6,000-7,000 new cases in the previous year, Gogoi said.

"The roadmap I have in mind is to have the right man for the job. You don't appoint judges the same way you appoint officers in the government. To judge is a full-time commitment. It is a passion. There are no working hours. It is a 24/7 job," he said. 

The former CJI also refuted the allegation that his nomination to the Rajya Sabha was a quid pro quo for delivering judgments favouring the BJP government's position in Rafale and Ayodhya cases. If there was such a bargain actually, would anyone settle for a Rajya Sabha seat, he asked rhetorically.

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