Collegium clears 9 names: Calendar of judicial vacancies a must to check pendency - The Tribune India

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Collegium clears 9 names

Calendar of judicial vacancies a must to check pendency

Collegium clears 9 names

Photo for representational purpose only. File photo

Having failed to make recommendations for the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court for two years, the Collegium has finally managed to send nine names, including those of three women, for elevation. The ending of the deadlock is something to celebrate. Justice BV Nagarathna of the Karnataka High Court — as one of the nine candidates recommended for elevation — would go on to become the first woman CJI. It’s for the first time that three women judges have been recommended for elevation to the Supreme Court, which has largely remained a male bastion. The stalemate was reportedly due to Justice RF Nariman’s insistence on elevation of Tripura High Court Chief Justice Akil A Kureshi to the top court before any other name was considered.

With 69,476 cases awaiting adjudication, the Supreme Court is currently functioning with only 24 judges against a sanctioned strength of 34, including the CJI. Once these nine appointments are made, its strength would go up to 33. However, the problem of judicial vacancies is far from over as more than 41 per cent judges’ posts in high courts remain vacant. According to the Department of Justice, 455 out of 1,098 posts of judges are vacant in 25 high courts that have 57.7 lakh cases pending. Many of the high courts have 50 per cent or more vacancies — Patna High Court (34 posts vacant out of 53); Calcutta High Court (41 of 72); Orissa High Court (14 of 27); Rajasthan High Court (27 of 50); Telangana High Court (29 of 42); and Delhi High Court (30 of 60). Similarly, in the Allahabad High Court, 60 posts out of 160 are vacant; Bombay High Court, 31 of 94; Gujarat High Court, 24 of 52; Andhra Pradesh High Court, 18 of 37; Punjab and Haryana High Court, 39 of 85; and Madhya Pradesh High Court, 24 of 53.

The Collegium needs to prepare a calendar of judicial vacancies and recommend names three months in advance so as to ensure that litigants don’t suffer due to insufficient judicial strength. Else, pendency would become unmanageable.

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