In an address delivered to judges on his last day at work, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi today spoke on the multi-faceted nature of the judicial process and why it cannot always adhere to strict timelines. One of the main reasons for this, he said, was the fact that "deliverables" in judicial proceedings do not follow a single chain of command.
"(The deliverables are instead) a formulation that arise out of multi-stakeholders programme where neither stakeholder is under the control or command of the other. In that view, the filing of a case and its ripening to the stage where the matter is to be heard by a judge does not follow a route that is in any way similar to that of a government file that moves in a single vertical hierarchy and may be expected to be closed within its prescribed life span," Chief Justice Gogoi said in an address delivered through video conferencing to judges across the country.
The top judge, who delivered a landmark verdict on the decades-old Ayodhya dispute case in his last days in office, is set to retire on Sunday. The case had been in court for over half a century before the five-member constitution bench led by Chief Justice Gogoi decided to hold a marathon hearing in 40 days to finally bring it to its logical conclusion.
While the 2.77 acres of disputed land that once accommodated the Babri mosque was handed over to a government trust for the construction of a temple, the court directed that Muslim litigants be given five acres of land in another spot.
Chief Justice Gogoi will be succeeded by Justice SA Bobde as the next head of the judiciary.
The Chief Justice said that there were various factors that made the resolution of a court case unpredictable. "The plans of governments and their agencies move from one financial year to another, while a case filed before a Court does not and cannot be said to be ready for disposal within any fixed tenure," he said, adding that the people should also understand that judges do not have administrative control over litigants or their advocates.
Chief Justice Gogoi had taken over as the top judge from his senior colleague, former CJI Deepak Misra, in October 2018. The video conference, which formed the agenda for his last day in office, was held with High Court judges as well as nearly 15,000 judicial officers across the country.