NEW DELHI: Ending the long tussle between the judiciary and the government over judges’ appointment, the Supreme Court on Monday said that the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) has been cleared and the process of filling the vacancies in the High Courts was proceeding at a faster pace.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar disposed of the PILs, saying a committee consisting of all chief justices of High Courts had been constituted to look into judicial vacancies and referred some of the PILs to the committee.
The Bench also said that progress has been made and the number of posts of judges in High Courts would be increased by 25 per cent.
“In the first stage, we will look into the filling up of vacancies of High Court judges and then we will look into increasing the number of High Court judges,” the Bench said, adding that it has also formulated a committee of senior Supreme Court judges for suggesting ways to cut the pendency of cases up to three years.
Earlier in March, a breakthrough was achieved after both the sides conceded some ground, with the Collegium accepting the government’s demand to include a clause on national security in the MoP.
The number of vacancies in High Courts has crossed more than 45 per cent. Of the close to 1,100 posts of judges in 24 High Courts, about 500 are lying vacant. Three of the 31 posts in the Supreme Court too are also vacant.
The Collegium, after deliberations, had also agreed to set up secretariats in the Supreme Court and the High Courts to gather data about judges and assist in the selection procedure for their appointment to the higher judiciary.
On January 2, the Supreme Court had questioned the Central government on why judges and chief justices of High Courts are not being transferred despite the recommendations of the Collegium and asked it to file a status report on such pending transfers with detailed reasons within two weeks.