Amid growing concerns over the Hyderabad encounter in which the four accused were killed by the police in an ‘act of self-defence’, Chief Justice of Indian Sharad Arvind Bobde has spoken against justice becoming revenge. Addressing an event during the inauguration of the new building of Rajasthan High Court in Jodhpur, CJI Bobde said that, “I believe justice loses its character as justice if it becomes revenge.” The comment gains significance as several people had pointed out at poor judicial records in terms of the rape cases in India. “I don’t think justice can ever be and ought to be instant," he further said.
A latest Reuters report had pointed out to poor conviction rates in rape cases in India. More than 32,500 cases of rape were registered with the police in 2017, about 90 a day, according to the most recent government data. Indian courts disposed of only about 18,300 cases related to rape that year, leaving more than 127,800 cases pending at the end of 2017.
"We have to devise methods for not only speeding up litigation but all together preventing it. There are laws which provide for pre-litigation mediation," he said, adding that there was a need to consider compulsory pre-litigation mediation. Surprisingly, no courses were available for conferring a degree or diploma in mediation, he said.
On the last year’s unprecedented presser, Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said the press conference held by four senior most judges of the apex court last year was just a self-corrective measure. In an unprecedented move, Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur and Kurien Joseph-- had on January 12, 2018, held a press conference, saying the situation in the top court was "not in order" and many "less than desirable" things had taken place. Ranjan Gogoi later in the year had succeeded the then chief justice of India Dipak Mishra.
"I believe the institution (judiciary) must correct itself and indeed it did during the time when the much-criticised press conference was held. It was nothing more than a self-corrective measure and I do not wish to justify it," Justice Bobde said during the inauguration of a new building of the Rajsthan High Court here. The CJI further said, "All judges were eminent and Justice (Ranjan) Gogoi in particular showed great competence and led the judiciary from the front."
(With PTI inputs)