Once again highlighting the issue of vacancies in the judiciary and huge backlog of cases, Chief Justice of India TS Thakur on Sunday said the process of appointment of judges must be accelerated.
The CJI has flagged the issue in his public speeches on many occasions in the recent past.
"There are 12 judges per 10 lakh people in the country and at least three crore cases are pending in the courts. There is a need to speed up the process of appointment to vacant posts of judges," Justice Thakur said.
He was addressing the first state conference of judicial officers, organised by the Chhattisgarh High Court and the State Judicial Academy, in Bilaspur.
As per the Law Commission's report in 1987, 40,000 judges were needed then, but even today the strength of judiciary was only 18,000, he said.
If the situation did not change, the figure of pending cases would cross five crore in the next 15-20 years, and crores of people would be deprived of justice, the CJI said.
Appointments can be made gradually by setting a target for the next five years, Thakur said, adding that he had expressed his concerns on the issue with the Prime Minister too.
The foremost attribute of judiciary is honesty, he said. "If any person, belonging to any sector, is not honest, then he must be a trader ("dukandar"). An arbitrator should not be a trader and is not supposed to sell judgement. Therefore, honesty is the foremost quality needed in the judiciary," the CJI said.
A good judge is the one who gives a patient hearing to both the sides before dispensing justice, Justice Thakur said. Supreme Court judge Abhay Manohar Sapre and Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh High Court Deepak Gupta were also present.