Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who will take over as chief justice on October 3, said on Saturday that he had a plan to tackle the high number of pending cases in Indian courts, Bar and Bench reported. Gogoi was speaking at a seminar organised by Youth Bar Association of India in New Delhi.

The problem of pendency of cases has the potential to make the judicial system irrelevant, he said. “Pendency is bringing a lot of disrepute,” Gogoi said. “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 judgements in the second or third generation.”

The chief justice-designate urged young lawyers to participate in the process once he “unfolds” his plan. “I would request each of you to kindly give a thought to this [problem] and see how you can overcome this difficulty,” Gogoi said. “I have a plan and will unfold it and you are welcome to take part in that.”

He also spoke about social engineering and the role of the judiciary in implementing it. “Social engineering in providing access to justice, in enabling a person who cannot come to court, to come to the court, and travelling beyond legal aid and expanding the scope of legal service, to giving each man his due under the law without having to come to the court,” Gogoi said.

Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who Gogoi will succeed, will retire on Tuesday. In January, Gogoi was among the four Supreme Court judges – the others being Jasti Chelameswar, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph – who held an unprecedented press conference to speak out against the manner in which Misra had been assigning cases to benches and handling administrative matters. Chelameswar has since retired.