NEW DELHI: To cut down pendency of cases, the government—in consultation with Chief Justice of India (CJI) T S Thakur—is considering ad hoc appointments of retired judges to improve the system. The proposal will be discussed at the Chief Justices and Chief Ministers Conference slated this month-end.
Article 128 of the Constitution empowers the CJI to request a former judge of the Supreme Court or High Court who is qualified for appointment as a Supreme Court judge, to act as a judge of the apex court, with the consent of the President.
Currently, the government appoints retired judges as chairpersons of tribunals.
The proposal is backed by a Law Commission report, which states: “These retired judges constitute a pool of rich talent which requires to be fully utilised. They have sharpened decision-making process, which is an asset. Art of adjudication is in their blood. Court processes and court procedure are handy to them. They have acquired a certain expertise in dealing with matters civil, criminal, tax, labour and constitutional, coming before them.”
According to a study by Vidhi, a centre for legal policy, Supreme Court is busy hearing fresh appeals on a daily basis, and cases which are more than five years old are increasing by leaps and bounds. There is urgent need of dispose off the old cases.
“Such ad hoc appointments inspire confidence as a temporary measure to reduce the cumbersome workload, without compromising the quality of justice delivery,” said a official involved with the proposal.
The ad hoc appointment of retired judges will also allow setting up specialised courts without diluting the strength of justices of the Supreme Court.
The proposal will include how the vacancy of high court judges across the country will be met and measures to be followed for future vacancies and increasing workload of cases.