Chief Justice of India Deepak Misra and CJI designate Ranjan Gogoi attend an inauguration ceremony at the lawn of the Supreme Court. (Source: PTI)

India's Top Judge Vows to Fix a Legal System Plagued by Delays

(Bloomberg) -- India’s top judge-designate declared delays in cases and the law’s inaccessibility to most people his two primary concerns, vowing to tackle issues that’re rendering the legal system of the world’s fastest-growing major economy “irrelevant.”

Ranjan Gogoi, who on Oct. 3 will take over as India’s 46th chief justice, said he will reveal a plan to tackle pending cases and asked lawyers to participate in the process.

“Pendency is bringing a lot of disrepute and it has the potential of making the system irrelevant,” Gogoi said in a Saturday address to young lawyers in New Delhi. “The accused in a criminal case is getting a hearing after he has served out the sentence; the parties in a civil proceeding are getting their judgments in the second or third generation.”

The world’s second-most populous nation grapples with millions of pending lawsuits and a complex court system stymies most Indians. The country’s subordinate courts are handling nearly 28 million pending cases, while the count in the high courts has reached 3.2 million, according to information provided on the justice department’s website. There were more than 54,000 pending cases at the Supreme Court as of May 4, according to its website.

“What we need is an entirely different approach, a different way of thinking,” he said.

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