Supreme Court judge Kurian Joseph, one of the four judges who held the unprecedented press conference in January this year, on Friday said the Chief Justices of High Courts should seek assistance of other senior judges in allotment of cases.

“The Chief Justice though he is the master of roster, invariably the Chief Justice of High Court is from outside. He should seek the assistance of senior judges in the court who are well aware of the expertise and exposure of brother and sister judges in the HC,” Justice Joseph.

He was speaking at the inaugural function of a conference on ‘National Initiative to Reduce Pendency and Delay in Judicial System’ in the Capital along with Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

Senior apex court judges Ranjan Gogoi and Madan B. Lokur, who had held the press meet over allocation of sensitive cases in the top court, were also present.

Justice Joseph also suggested that the government increase the age of retirement of judges in both the SC and the HCs to 70 years. However, he clarified that he was “not going to continue” nor take any post-retirement assignment.

“The government must avoid delay in making appointment. Once the HC collegium clears the appointment of a judge in the HC, there should not be more than three months’ delay and as far as the SC is concerned, there must not be more than two-week delay,” Justice Joseph said.

‘Scope of AI’

To cut short length of trial of cases, Justice Gogoi suggested that “the scope of artificial intelligence [AI] needs to be explored”.

“I am not suggesting that human conscience to be applied during courtroom decision making can be replaced with technology or that its [AI’s] success or results in other spheres can be brought to the courts. Nevertheless, AI can be a tracker. While it will not do the thinking for us, it can certainly give us food for thought,” Justice Gogoi said, adding, “It can help follow the progression of a case, help identify as to what extent the procedures in laws have been relaxed in a particular litigation and alert the judges if at the given point of time it may have become an aberration.”

“However, considering that majority of courts are not even Wi-Fi-enabled, this seems to be a long haul,” he said.

Justice Misra said of over 22,000 posts of judicial officers, only about 16,000 have been filled.

The vacancies are, on average, 30% for most States.

“Steps have to be taken by HC judges to fill up these vacancies,” Justice Misra said, adding that alternate dispute resolution mechanisms should also be promoted.

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