Vacancies in HCs being filled fast: SC

Vacancies in HCs being filled fast: SC

"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, also comprising Justices DY Chandrachud, said.

The court also maintained that vacancies were being filled on a war footing as Memorandum of Procedure, the guiding document for appointment of judges in the high courts and the Supreme Court, has been cleared.

Disposing a batch of PILs seeking the enhancing of strength of judges in the High Courts and the lower judiciary to deal with the huge pendency of cases, the bench said its first priority is to fill the vacancies against the existinbg sanctionefd strength. Although a formal notice was never issued on the petitions, Justice Thakur had warned of issuing judicial orders if the government failed to act.

Finalisation of the MoP, which will be sent to the Centre for approval and adoption this week, raises hopes of speedy filling up of vacancies in HCs, which are operating at below 60 per cent of their sanctioned strength. He repeatedly demanded increase in the number of judges in subordinate judiciary. Now the filling up of vacancy in the High Courts can be sped up.

In 2015, TS Thakur, who was the Chief Justice at that time, had raised an objection to the Centre getting power to reject judges candidates and setting up secretariats in all the High Courts and the apex court so as to screen all the judge aspirants.

Taking up the petitions, including one filed by BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, the court on Monday noted that the number of posts of judges in the high courts had already been increased by 25% but half of them remained vacant. "The committee has invited chief justices of all high courts to sit together and suggest ways and means to streamline and expedite the process", the court said.