Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has asked chief justices and senior judges of High Courts not to take leave on working days and be present in the courtroom during working hours every day, in an effort to reduce the massive pendency of cases. Gogoi also discouraged the practice of judges attending seminars on working days, The Times of India reported.

There are 43 lakh cases pending in 42 High Courts, and 55,496 in the Supreme Court, according to PRS Legislative Research.

Gogoi, who took oath as chief justice of India on October 3, spoke with the chief justices and senior judges of High Courts over videoconferencing. He asked them to focus on getting the work done and to combat corruption in the judiciary, the Hindustan Times reported citing unidentified individuals familiar with the conversation. Gogoi stressed that High Court chief justices must not “hesitate in withdrawing judicial work from judges who are under a cloud”.

He urged the chief justices of the High Courts to inform him about judges who do not follow the new work discipline, and asserted that the Supreme Court will deal with them.

Gogoi also emphasised the need to appoint advocates with good incomes as judges, as this would reduce their temptation to make more money. He said that senior judges should immediately take measures to fill up vacancies in the lower judiciary.

“Pendency is bringing a lot of disrepute,” Gogoi had said at a seminar days before taking oath as the chief justice of India. “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.”