Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana on Saturday said that if people lose faith and trust in the judiciary, the very survival of democracy will be at stake.
Justice Ramana, who is scheduled to demit office next week, said it was necessary to ensure that people do not lose faith and trust in the judiciary.
“If the people lose the faith and trust in judiciary and if the judiciary collapses, the very survival of democracy will be at stake,” the CJI said.
Justice Ramana was speaking after inaugurating Vijayawada Court Complex here in the presence of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court Prashant Kumar Mishra, judges of the high court and other courts.
He said during his tenure as the Chief Justice, he focused on filling up vacancies of judges and as many as 250 high court judges were appointed.
The CJI said filling up the vacancies of judges and improving infrastructure were the two issues on top of his agenda during his tenure of one-and-half years.
He said during his tenure as the CJI, 250 high court judges were appointed. Twelve judges to the Supreme Court and 15 chief justices of various state high courts were also appointed.
The CJI said he ensured all sections of society, especially women and backward sections get proper representation in the judiciary.
He said he spoke on the filling up of vacancies of judges and improving infrastructure in courts across the country and raised the issue with the Prime Minister, Central Ministers, Chief Ministers and Chief Justices.
In view of the financial problems faced by some states, he wanted the Centre to provide funds to the state for construction of court buildings.
“Though there was some opposition from the Centre, some Chief Ministers, especially of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, supported me and demanded that the Centre provide the funds. I thank them for their support,” he said.
Justice Ramana observed that high pendency of cases is the main problem faced by the judiciary in the county and there are many reasons for that.
He reminded judges and lawyers that ensuring speedy justice is their responsibility. Stating that the ultimate aim of judiciary is to deliver justice to people, he advised them to ensure speedy justice within the shortest possible time.
He advised lawyers to extend all support to various initiatives to strengthen the judiciary and also recalled the days when he served as a member of Vijayawada Bar Association in 1983.
He said it was Justice K.G. Shankar advised him to go to Hyderabad. He also recalled his association with eminent criminal lawyer Ayyappu Reddy, who was also known for his love for literature and active politics.
“I worked as a junior to him for 10 years and he treated me like his son,” said Justice Ramana.
The CJI thanked all those who helped him to reach the top position. He advised lawyers to encourage their juniors.
“You have a responsibility. You enjoy a respectable position in the society, which is looking at you. You should be role models for a change in society,” he said.
The CJI said he was pleased to inaugurate the building for which he had laid the foundation stone nearly a decade ago.
Justice Ramana said while bifurcation of the state was one reason for the delay in construction, the governments could not release funds on time due to financial problems and contractors could not execute the work properly.
He noted that the cost of the eight-storey building had gone up from Rs 58 crore to Rs 100 crore. He said building alone was not enough and advised judges and lawyers to use the building effectively.
He said during his tenure as the CJI, several high court judges were appointed in both the Telugu states Stating that there are some vacancies, he asked the chief minister and chief justice to work for filling the same.
He also stated that after bifurcation, there is a feeling in Andhra Pradesh that the state had become economically weak and lagging in other sectors. While observing that this is correct to some extent, he hoped that people would work hard to uplift the state as one of the progressive states.
The CJI said the Centre should extend the financial support to the state.
Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy assured the judiciary that his government would extend all possible support to its initiatives.