M A I N   N E W S

SC for filling all judicial vacancies
Seeks reports from states, HCs
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, April 4
Taking serious view of the state governments and High Courts’ inordinate delay in filling the vacancies of judges at all levels, which has direct bearing on speedy disposal of cases across the country, the Supreme Court has directed them to adhere to the annual appointment schedule strictly.

Directing all states, union territories and High Courts to submit details about the exact number of vacancies of posts of judge and judicial officer within three months, a Bench comprising Chief Justice Y. K. Sabharwal and Mr Justice C. K. Thakker said adherence to strict time schedule could ensure timely filling of the vacancies every year.

“All state governments, union territories and High Courts are directed to provide for time schedule so that every year vacancies that may occur are timely filled,” the court ordered, expressing concern over nearly 100 vacancies in the High Courts and over 12,000 in subordinate courts.

It said state governments and High Courts were required to take timely steps to determine the number of vacancies, issue advertisements accordingly, conduct examinations and interviews and declare the results in a speedy manner to complete the appointment process. It should make sure that no vacancy remained unfilled by the end of the year. The court said to bring the vacancies to a zero level, if any other steps needed to be taken by the governments and the High Courts, the same should be taken to provide fixed time schedule “so that the system works automatically and there is no delay in filling up the vacancies.”

It said the governments could emulate the model of medical college admissions to ensure timely recruitment of judges by initiating the appointment process much in advance of the vacancy likely to be occurred during the year due to retirement of a certain number of judges or judicial officers.

The direction came in a judgment delivered yesterday, while deciding a case pertaining to the appointment of 374 judicial officers in lower courts in Uttar Pradesh for which process was started by the UP State Public Service Commission in 2000 but the recruitment could not be effected due to matter landing into litigation on various issues, including relaxation of age limit and reservation to SC and ST candidates.


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