Pressure mounts on centre to fill high court vacancies

Attorney General Venugopal says govt alone cannot be blamed for delay in recruiting judges, the HCs too take a long time in recommending names 

Published: 13th January 2020 06:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th January 2020 10:59 AM   |  A+A-

Court Hammer, judgement, order, Gavel

For representational purpose (Express Illustration)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Amidst increasing pendency of cases, vacancies in high courts have already crossed 400. The Centre is facing a challenge in filling the same and is blaming the states for sending the names of judges late to the collegium.

Attorney General KK Venugopal told the top court that government alone could not be blamed and that there was a delay on the part of high courts too in recommending names to fill up vacancies.

He also said that there is an income limit fixed for the nominees and sometimes names recommended are from the less income bracket. These names are then sent back and this is where the delay is caused.

Expressing concern over the increasing vacancies, the Supreme Court had remarked that the “high courts were reaching a collapsing stage” and asked Venugopal whether it would not be possible to clear the appointments, on which the Collegium and the government are on the same page, within a six-month period.

Judicial vacancies keep arising on account of several reasons, including retirement, resignation or elevation of judges and increase in the sanctioned strength of courts. 

A three-member Supreme Court collegium becomes the final authority on appointing high court judges. It is the high court collegium that usually shortlists judicial candidates and sends the names to the law ministry.

The ministry then forwards candidates’ names to the Supreme Court collegium along with background check reports prepared by the Intelligence Bureau.

According to the data from the Ministry of Law and Justice, India’s 25 high courts have a sanctioned strength of 1,079 judges, of which 414 are currently vacant and facing mammoth pendency of 43 lakh cases.

The Allahabad High Court, the largest high court in the country, also has the highest number of vacancies, 53 against a sanctioned strength of 160, followed by the Calcutta High court with 32 vacancies and Punjab & Haryana High Court with 30 vacancies. 

Bihar police categorically dismisses NCRB data for 2018 

Data related to crimes in 2018, released last Wednesday by National Crime Bureau of Records (NCRB), were rejected on Sunday by the police headquarters of Bihar. Bihar Police claimed that no alarming rise in crimes like murders and others were witnessed in 2018 compared to crime rates of 2017.

As per the NCRB 2018 report, Patna took top spot in the total number of crimes committed, including murders, among 19 other metropolitan cities in the country.

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