HC from Bombay, Calcutta and Allahabad face shortage of judges | India News
Calcutta High Court (File photo)
NEW DELHI: Three large High Courts in Allahabad, Bombay and Calcutta, working with more than 40% vacancies in judge positions, may have to wait years to obtain the strength of judges sanctioned at the rate at which both the Center as well as the College of the Supreme Court are dealing with recommended names to be appointed judges.
The Allahabad HC with an authorized force of 160 judges is working with only 96 of them. In Bombay HC, of the 94 authorized judges, 30 are vacant. The situation is alarming in the Calcutta High Court, where 38 of the 72 judge posts are vacant. Allahabad HC has almost 10 lakh pending, Bombay HC 4.5 lakh and Calcutta HC has 2.3 lakh pending.
But, this appears to have little impact on the South Carolina Center and College, which sit on a series of names recommended by the respective HCs for urgent appointments as judges to help alleviate the pressure placed on existing judges by the huge number of pending cases.
If the Collegium has been seized from 23 names recommended by various HCs in India for periods ranging from nine to 33 months, the Center is allowing dust to accumulate for periods ranging from five to 18 months in 16 names approved by the SC Collegium. These 16 names include five lawyers, who were recommended by the SC Collegium to the Center for appointment as Judges of the HC Calcutta on July 25, 2019. It also included six names submitted by the Collegium for appointment as Judges of the HC of Delhi ago five months.
But, from the statistics available with TOI, it appears that the Center takes a long time to send to the College of South Carolina the names proposed by the Superior Courts for appointment as Judges. According to the procedure, once the HCs submit the names to the Center, the government performs an IB verification for each proposed name and then completes the file before submitting it to SC Collegium to examine the suitability of each individual. After the evaluation process, the SC college recommends the appointment of the appropriate people as HC judges.
The Mumbai HC had sent a proposal on April 15 last year to the Center for the appointment of 22 people, 18 lawyers and four judicial officials, as judges. The verification and preparation of each person’s files took the government nearly eight months, and the names were forwarded to the College of South Carolina on December 11 of last year.
The HC of Calcutta had proposed the elevation of eight judicial officials on January 22 of last year. The government took 11 months to send these names to SC Collegium.
Of the 41 names proposed by Allahabad HC, ten were submitted to the government on December 19, 2019, which were forwarded to the Collegium on December 11 of last year. The HC proposed another 31 names on May 24 last year, and it took the government eight months to forward them to Collegium on January 29.