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Chief justice expresses concern at trial by media

November 04, 2006 23:36 IST
Chief Justice of India Y K Sabharwal on Saturday expressed concern at the recent trend of the media conducting trial of cases before courts pronounce judgements and cautioned this "would prove destructive in the long run."

"These are matters which will have serious reflection on judiciary. We can't ignore them. Think of the person to whom injustice is caused by this," he said.

"If this continues, there can't be any conviction. Judges are confused because the media has already given a verdict. "Today we know the reach of the media. There are so many 24-hour television channels. I have asked judges to go by evidence before them," Sabharwal said while participating in the valedictory function of the Karnataka High Court's golden jubilee celebrations here.

Referring to the vacancies of judges in courts, Sabharwal remarked that the country's judge-population ratio was almost the "lowest".

In this context, he said the delay in appointing judges couldn't be attributed to the judiciary alone. "When we compare the system of other nations with our country, we forget that 80 per cent of litigants is the state. It is to be thought over that the state litigant has a major say in appointment."

Those who think that there must be a change should think on this, apart from the fact that the nation has two Constitution bench judgments on this issue, he noted.

Sabharwal exhorted the judiciary to ensure the delivery of justice to the poor, downtrodden, women and other deprived sections at a low cost.

"Even after 59 years of independence, the downtrodden and weaker sections are still handicapped in the pursuit of justice and it should be a mater of concern for all those in the judiciary," he said.

Stressing on the speedy disposal of cases and strides achieved by the Karnataka High Court, Sabharwal reminded the judicial fraternity that there could be no room for complacency on pending cases.

"We still have more than 10 lakh pending cases in subordinate courts. In a reasonable time, a litigant has the right to expect delivery of justice," he said.

"By some innovations, we can ensure things by putting in some extra labour too," he said, adding that the alterative justice delivery mechanism has begun to show an impact in clearing pending cases.

Turning to Karnataka, the Chief Justice said it is a peace loving state and added "it can't be complacent in these troubled times," apparently having in mind the recent terror activities and advised the government to modernise the police force.

Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph spoke of the court's initiatives during the golden jubilee celebrations to reduce the number of pending cases.

Governor T N Chaturvedi, Supreme Court Judges K G Balakrishnan and R V Raveendran spoke on the occasion.

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