Amid continuing standoff between the judiciary and the government, Chief Justice of India (CJI) T.S. Thakur on Monday expressed his disappointment that Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not make any mention about appointment of judges in his Independence Day address.

“I heard the popular Prime Minister for one and a half hours … I expected some mention about justice also, about appointment of judges,” the CJI said at a function in New Delhi where law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was present.

Displaying his unhappiness, Justice Thakur said, “I want to tell the Prime Minister only one thing, you remove poverty, create employment, bring schemes etc but also think about justice for the countrymen.” The comments come close on the heels of the stern message of a Supreme Court bench headed by the chief justice to the Centre over non-execution of the collegium’s decision to transfer and appoint chief justices and judges in high courts.

It had said it would not tolerate “logjam in judges’ appointment” and would intervene to “fasten accountability” as justice delivery system was “collapsing”. Today, Justice Thakur said the workload of courts had increased manifold, making it difficult to deliver speedy justice.

 “During the British rule, cases would be decided in even 10 years. But now the number of cases and people’s expectations have risen so substantially that it is becoming difficult to achieve the objective now. That is why I have time and again requested the Prime Minister to pay attention towards this aspect,” he said.

b’PM Modi/Source: YouTube’

To emphasize his message, the chief justice recited an Urdu couplet: “Gul fenke auron par, samar bhi, E abr-e-karam, e-behr-e-sakha, kuch to idhar bhi (You gave fruits and flowers to others but O cloud of beneficence, wave of friendship, do bestow something on us too).” 

While making the remarks, he said he was “bluntly” speaking the truth “without any hesitation” or “any problem” as he had reached the “peak” of his career and was not expecting anything more in life.