CJI Breakdown

Justice T S Thakur

CJI Breakdown

CJI Breakdown

Recent breakdown of chief justice T S Thakur in front of prime minister Narendra  Modi sparks a question which matters a lot for growth of Indian judicial system . This is not a first time a chief justice making aware for the scarcity of the number of judges .

Indian judges working under pressure which decreasing the quality of judgment . According to the CJI impassioned speech at a conference of chief ministers and high court justices, during which he urged the government to refrain from criticizing the judiciary because judicial reform was in the hands of the executive - and the executive hasn"t kept its part of the bargain.

"... It is not only in the name of a litigant or people languishing in jails but also in the name of development of the country, its progress that I beseech you to rise to the occasion and realize that it is not enough to criticize. You cannot shift the entire burden on the judiciary," the Chief Justice said, choking up.

“Judges’ strength has been put in cold storage for past three decades. You cannot blame the judiciary alone for the high number of pending cases. In some petitions, we have to dispose ourselves in extremely stressful conditions. I request your Government to address the issue”

In 1987 the Law Commission of India had said that there should be 50 judges per 10 lakh population and the successive governments have done nothing in this regard. No point of Make in India or FDI if judiciary can’t function without efficacy, it is important to have more judges .

There are 434 judicial vacancies in the High Courts waiting to be filled up as of date.  He said that at least five crore cases are filed every year and judges dispose of only two crore.


“Nobody talks about our disposal rates… there is a limit to what a judge can do, to his or her performance capacity. In the United Supreme Court, nine judges sit together as a Bench and decide only 81 cases in a year. Judges come from abroad and are amazed by what an Indian judge does in a year in a stress-filled atmosphere… Yet we struggle on as the people have faith because we are doing our best,” Chief Justice Thakur said.

He referred to how the Law Commission in 1987 had recommended 40,000 judges in the country to tide over the problem of pendency of that time. Its report had said that there were only 10 judges to a million populations  when there should be at least 50 judges per 10 lakh population.                                                                                                                                                            

Noting that population has increased by over 25 crore since 1987, Chief Justice Thakur said the only solution to this “extraordinary situation” was to bring back proven judges from retirement in a bid to dispose of cases which are more than five years old.


He noted how setting up of Commercial Courts was close to Prime Minister Modi"s heart but questioned its viability. He said merely naming an existing court as Commercial Court would only further delay the process of justice for the ordinary litigant.

 Inadequate ratio of judges is bigger there are 434 judicial vacancies in the High Courts waiting to be filled up as of date.

Law commissions recommended many times for filling large number of judges to the government. This scarcity leads to the decrease in quality and quantity of judgments day by day.


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