Appointments of Judges in High Courts: A delayed Relief

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There has been a turmoil, ever since the Apex Court annulled the 99th Constitution Amendment Act, and sustained the appointment of judges in the higher judiciary through a collegium. There are numerous instances of face-off between the executive and the apex court on the issues of appointments and finalization of the memorandum of procedure. The sanctioned strength of the 24 high courts is 1,079 judges. Presently, there are only 629 judges in the High Courts.  There are 450 vacant positions in different high courts (As on 01.05.2017). High Court of Allahabad (76/160) and Calcutta (37/72) has highest number of vacancies.  However, keeping aside the conflict, in the larger interest both the institutions have now in the interest of nation started appointing judges at the High Courts.

Rajasthan High Court – 5  (Shri Ashok Kumar Gaur, Shri Manoj Kumar Garg, Shri Inderjeet Singh, Shri Virendra Kumar Mathur and Shri Ramchandra Singh Jhala) Notification dated 12.05.2017.

Delhi High Court – 4 ( Smt. Rekha Palli, Smt. Pratibha M Singh, Shri Navin Chawla, Shri C Hari Shankar). With this out of strength of 60 judges, 38 are now holding the office) Smt. Geeta Mittal is the Acting Chief Justice.

Gauhati High Court – 2 (Shri Mir Aifaz Ali, Shri Hitesh Kumar Sharma. Justice Ajit Singh is the Chief Justice. Notification here.

Patna High Court – 6 (Shri Anil Upadhyay, Shri Rajeev Prasad, Shri. Mohit Shah, Shri Prakash Jaiswal, Shri Sanjay Kumar, Shri Madhuresh Prasad). All of them were elevated on 22.05.2017.  Justice Rajendra Menon is the Chief Justice.

Uttarakhand High Court – 3 (Shri Manoj Kumar Tiwari, Shri Lokpal Singh, Shri Sharad Sharma. With this out of strength of 11 judges, 10 are now holding the office. Justice KM Joseph is the Chief Justice of the High Court. Notification here.

Jharkhand – 2 (Shri Bimlendu Bhushan Mangalmurti, and Shri Anil Kumar Choudhary were appointed vide notification dated 18.05.2017)

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Sikkim – 1 (Shri Bhaskar Raj Pradhan appointed vide notification dated 18.05.2017)

05.06.2017 – Appointment of 14 judges in the Bombay High Court.Shri Rohit Deo (Advocate General of Maharashtra)
Shri Sandeep Shinde
Smt. Bharti Dangre
Shri Manish Pitale
Shri SV Kotwal
Shri Riyaz Chagla
Shri Sopan Mahadu Gavhane
Shri SK Kotwal
Smt. V.V. Kakanwadi
Shri Murlidhar Ganpatrao Giratkar
Shri Prithviraj Keshavrao Chavan
Shri Arun Madhav Dhavale
Shri Mangesh S Patil
Shri Arun D Upadhye

(See the DoJ notification dated 31.05.2017 here)

Appointment of 3 Judges in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. Following three judges were appointment by the President under Section 95 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. (vide notification dated 02.06.2017 of President of India)

  1. Shri Sanjeev Kumar
  2. Shri Maharaj K. Hanjura &
  3. Shri Sanjay Gupta.

Recently, according to reports, the process has been initiated for appointment of Justice Thakur’s led collegium recommended 44 judges whose names were earlier sent by the government to the collegium for reconsideration.

Though a progress is there, but, due to inadequate no. of judges, there has been a staggering amount of pendency of cases in the Courts. A whopping three crore are pending across the country in 24 high courts which are also grappling with almost 44% shortage of judges, at a time when the judiciary and executive have differed over appointment of judges in the higher judiciary.

Image Courtesy: The Quint

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