New Delhi: The Supreme Court as a "public institution" needed to be opened for common people on Saturdays barring holidays, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said Thursday.The CJI also inaugurated the Centre for Research and Planning, an "in-house think tank" and launched a portal through which citizens can book their visit to the court, which will be open from 10 AM to 1 PM every Saturday, except on declared holidays. The common public can now have a guided tour of courtrooms, judges' library on Saturdays.
The think tank would carry out "cutting-edge research" into fundamental jurisprudence and the principles and doctrines of law as well as on judicial reforms for improvement in justice delivery system. "As my colleagues are concerned I really seek a post-facto approval. The decision was entirely mine. I did not consult any of you. I apologise for it but I hope you will approve of it," the CJI said candidly when discussing the aspects to be covered by the 'think tank'. In a function organised at Judges' lounge, Justice Gogoi said, "The in-house centre will be a very small body but it will be meant for domain experts all over the country who will be contributing their line of thoughts." The main mandate of the think tank would be to collect, assimilate and disseminate inputs for judicial reforms, legal education and development of jurisprudence of the Supreme Court of India. Dealing with the aspect of throwing open the gates of apex court for common public, Justice Gogoi said, "It is an experiment, a very limited exposure to the Supreme Court, a public institution that I thought should be opened up in a limited way."
Professor Mohan Gopal, academician and former vice chancellor of National Law School of India, Bangalore, also spoke at the programme. He said the think tank could play an important role in better explaining to the general public, the work of the Supreme Court. "We are setting out on a very important venture to create a permanent body of knowledge that can be accessed by the entire legal fraternity and by the public that will improve the better understanding of the working of the judiciary and the justice system," he said.