Agency Ahmedabad: Justice M R Shah of the Supreme Court said on Sunday that the verdict in the Ayodhya case was an example of the quality of judgments delivered by the Indian judiciary, and the hard work which made it possible cannot be imaged. Addressing the students of Nirma University here on `Judicial Delay and Judicial Recusal’, Shah also said that judges should not recuse themselves (withdraw) from a case unless they have a monetary interest in the matter. “Huge pendency of cases and inordinate delays are the most important problems faced by the Indian judiciary, although there is widespread praise for the quality of judgments delivered and hard work being done. The recent example is the Ram Janmabhoomi (Ayodhya) judgment,” he said. “You cannot imagine the hard work done by the Supreme Court judges who delivered the (Ayodhya) judgment. To hear a matter for 40 days and that too of public importance, and thereafter to dictate and deliver the judgment striking a balance between the parties is a very difficult thing, still we are trying our best to see that justice is done,” he added. A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on November 9 allowed construction of a Ram temple by a government trust at the disputed site in Ayodhya. Shah further said that speedy trial is the essence of criminal justice system, but when justice is hurried, there is a possibility that it might be “buried”. “Therefore it is important to strike a balance between the two,” he said. “There is an urgent need to ensure that no justice is delayed and the situation existing today is remedied soon,” the judge added. Rising population, shortage of courts and judges, poor infrastructure and a slow pace of computerisation and use of Information Technology were some of the factors responsible for the long pendency of cases, he said. Lawyers who seek unnecessary adjournments too cause delay, Justice Shah said, adding, “lawyers are one of the main hindrances in speedy criminal trials”. On judicial recusal, Shah said it should not be allowed except on the ground of “pecuniary personal interest”. “Unless there is a compelling reason, recusal of a judge should not be sought, otherwise it would destroy the very benefits of independent judicial system,” he said. He also called for encouragement of mediation to settle matters out of court. “I always said mediation should be encouraged… Unfortunately, it is not done with the speed with which it ought to be done,” he said.
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