Ranjan Gogoi. Picture: REUTERS
Ranjan Gogoi. Picture: REUTERS

New Delhi — A former chief justice of India says he won’t go to the country’s top court with his grievances because he would have to wait endlessly for a verdict, a comment that lays bare the nation’s clogged legal system.

“You want a $5-trillion economy but you have a ramshackled judiciary,” said Ranjan Gogoi, who retired as the head of the country’s judiciary in November 2019 and is now a member of the upper house of the parliament. Gogoi was speaking at an event organised by the India Today Group, a news network.

Gogoi’s remarks calling for an overhaul of the judiciary’s capacity and efficacy highlights India’s troubles with delayed verdicts and enforcing contracts. Court systems in Asia’s third-largest economy are clogged with more than 43-million cases and a shortage of judges means that some cases can end up taking years, even decades, to find a resolution.

Companies invested in India have a tough time once entangled in a legal dispute. Only corporations, willing to take chances with their millions of rupees go to the supreme court, Gogoi said. “If you were to go to the court, you’d be only washing your dirty linen in the court. You won’t get a verdict. I have no hesitation in saying it.”

Gogoi made the remarks responding to a question on whether he plans to sue a politician who alleged that he presided over a matter that heard allegations of sexual harassment against him during his tenure as the chief justice.

The member also alleged that Gogoi was made a parliamentarian after his retirement after he ruled in favour of Hindus seeking a centuries-old religiously disputed site and rejected a probe against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in graft allegations involving the purchase of fighter jets.


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