The Judiciary as an institution is facing crisis of credibility which is a challenge from within, Chief Justice of India TS Thakur said on 13 March as he asked judges to be conscientious to their duties.
With concern being raised over a large number of pending cases, Justice Thakur did not mince any words as he said the Bar has "not been very very cooperative" in disposal of cases even if judges are ready to put in extra hours.
"At times, judges feel the delay in the disposal of cases is only because the Bar does not, at times, cooperate," he said at a function to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Allahabad high court.
The CJI said he can assure the lawyers that if the Bar cooperates, judges will be ready to sit even on Saturdays to finish old matters, especially related to people languishing in jail for years.
"We have great challenges in future and we need to get ready to meet those challenges. Judiciary as an institution, as we all know, is always under the public gaze and has challenges not only from within but from outside also. Challenges from outside do not disturb us so much. We all face them but we need to be aware of challenges from within," he said.
The Chief Justice added, "...and when I speak about challenges from within, I am referring to the crisis of credibility that we face in the country today. Judges need to be conscientious in their discharge of duties, punctuality, judicial retribute and efforts to do the best is what is the need of the hour".
Seeking cooperation from the Bar in reducing pending cases, Justice Thakur said while judges are doing their best and have, to the satisfaction of the entire nation, upheld the Constitution, protected the rights of the people and ensured that access to justice is a reality, he would also like to address the need for a similar commitment from Bar members.
He said without the Bar, administration of justice is not possible terming it as the mother of the Bench.
"If you have good judges it is because of the Bar that you have.... Over a period of the time we have seen that the Bar is not very very co-operative in the matter of disposal of cases," he said underlining that there are 10 lakh cases pending in Allahabad High Court.
Justice Thakur said the cases of people who are languishing in jail can be taken on priority and disposed of but it is not possible without the Bar's cooperation.
He said he can assure the lawyers that if the Bar cooperates, judges will be ready to sit even on Saturdays to finish these old matters.
"In Punjab, my judges offered to sit beyond four o'clock. They said even we are ready to sit on Saturday provided the Bar cooperates but the Bench was not inclined to cooperate.
"I would humbly request the Bar here that over the next year when we celebrate the completion of 150 years, let us also resolve that cases are disposed of in largest possible numbers. That would be a true tribute to those who have served this institution whether as judges or lawyers in the past," he said.