New Delhi, Tue Nov 26 2013, 20:19 hrs
Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam today termed as an “aberration” the allegation of sexual harassment against his former colleague by an intern and assured the nation that justice will be done in “all respect”.
“During my short stint, an incident of alleged aberration has come to light through media reports. On the very same day, I constituted a three-member Committee to look into it. I assure every one that justice will be done in all respect,” the CJI said.
Addressing lawyers on the Law Day function in the Supreme Court lawn, Justice Sathasivam asked the media to “sensitively” deal with sensitive issues that may cause irreparable damage to the institution like judiciary.
“My humble request is that any casual carefree remark which may have the tendency of causing irreparable damage to the Institution may be delicately considered before reporting as it may have the impact not only at the national level but also internationally.
“Reporting may be done considering the Institution and not the individual by balancing equities. Every sensitive matter, therefore, needs to be dealt with more sensitivity, lest it should cause irreparable harm and has the tendency of not putting the clock back,” he said.
He also expressed concern over the backlog of pending cases and said that the efforts have borne fruits as “the pendency of 69,446 (cases) at the end of June has been reduced to 65,893 by the end of October in the Supreme Court.”
The CJI said that the recently held National Lok Adalat was a great success as it disposed of over 50 lakh cases and such event should be made an annual affair.
Referring to the inadequate number of judges in courts, including the high courts, he asked Law Minister Kapil Sibal to consider this aspect.
“Recognizing that shortage of judges is also one of the factors contributing to delay in speedy and effective dispensation of justice. I took up the matter with the highest constitutional dignitary of the executive with regard to increase in strength by 25 per cent. The Law Minister has also endorsed my view and hopefully, the suggested increase in strength would be in place shortly,” he said.
The CJI also proposed to form separate benches to deal with criminal and land acquisition cases and indicated that batch matters would be given preferential hearing.
He endorsed the view of M N Krishnamani, the president of Supreme Court Bar Association, that the Government was a major litigant and the number of cases can be curtailed.
“There is one more facet to this. The Government is a major litigant. Even cases, which are not required to be filed in court, are being filed as a matter of course. This may be eschewed and the result would be substantial relief on the docket,” he said.