The Supreme Court has reiterated its anger at the Union government’s delays in filling the growing number of vacant judicial posts in Supreme Courts across the country.
In an order issued on Monday (August 9), the Supreme Court found that the government’s “unruly stance” in not appointing Supreme Court judges years after the recommendations were released has resulted in delays in resolving cases.
A division bank made up of Judges Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy made these grave remarks while hearing a request for special leave against an injunction from the Delhi Supreme Court in an anti-dumping case.
From the proceedings, the Chamber of the Supreme Court found that the High Court is unable to hear the case early because it is working at half speed.
“We are faced with the problem raised in these petitions because of the government’s reluctance to jointly appoint Supreme Court judges for years, even if the recommendations are approved by the college,” the bank said at the start of the order.
The bank found that the “real catch” was that the High Court found it impractical to consider such matters early on.
“This is a direct result of the inadequacy of the number of judges on the High Court, including in the capital of the country where the Delhi High Court is located,” the court found painfully.
The bank stated in its ruling that it explained to the additional attorney general Madhavi Divan, who appeared on the matter, that the recommendations would take months and years to reach the college and that months and years after the college had no decisions to be hit.
As a result, the judicial authority of the high courts is staffed with fewer judges, so it will be almost impossible to reach an early decision even on important matters.
The bank also reminded the Union government of the appointment schedule proposed by the Supreme Court in its April 20 ruling in the M / s case. PLR projects Pvt. Ltd. V. Mahanadi Coalfields Limited & Ors. But this order does not seem to have moved the government, the court regretted.
“The judicial authority is faced with this scenario, although the timetable is determined by the decision of this court in Transfer Petition (Civil) No. 2419 of 2019, entitled M / s. PLR Projects Pvt. Ltd. V. Mahanadi Coalfields Limited & Ors. of April 20, 2021, which the government does not seem to have moved.
The result is that if some loss is caused by the inability of the judicial authority to handle matters, it is a direct consequence of the insufficient number of judges, “the Court stated in the order.
To illustrate the dire situation of the high courts, the decision referred to the strength of the high court in the state capital. The Delhi High Court will have less than 50% judges in a week and only 29 judges out of 60 judges. To put this into context, the order stated that two decades ago when Judge Sanjay Kishan Kaul was appointed Judge of the Delhi High Court, he was appointed 32nd judge out of 33 judges.
Given the situation of the Delhi Supreme Court, the Supreme Court said it was unable to ask the Supreme Court to resolve the case in a timely manner.
“… the government must recognize that early resolution of trade disputes is a necessity for which there must be a sufficient number of judges who in turn would require that they do the things set out in M / s. PLR Projects Pvt. Ltd. Meet deadlines. (Above), “demanded the court.
453 posts (more than 50% of sanctioned posts) vacant by judges in the High Court: Justice Department response
In response to a request from Lok Sabha, Union Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju recently announced that 453 Supreme Court judges’ posts were vacant. This means that more than 50% of the sanctioned posts of 1098 judges in the High Court are vacant.
The Justice Minister also told Lok Sabha that it was not possible to provide the timeframe required to fill the vacancies as it was an “ongoing, integrated and collaborative process between the executive and judiciary”.
What did the Supreme Court say about the schedule?
The court set the deadline as follows:
1. The Intelligence Bureau (IB) should submit its report / submissions to the central government within 4 to 6 weeks from the date of the recommendation by the High Court Collegium.
2. It would be desirable for the central government to forward the file (s) / recommendations to the Supreme Court within 8 to 12 weeks of receiving the state government’s comments and the IB’s report / submissions.
3. It would be for the government to proceed with the appointment promptly after the above consideration, and undoubtedly if the government has any qualification or public interest concerns, it may within the same time limit to the College Supreme Court with the specific reasons recorded for the reservation
If, after examining the above submissions, the College Supreme Court still unanimously reiterates the recommendation (s) (Cl. 24.1), such appointment should be processed and the appointment should be made within 3 to 4 weeks.
A bank consisting of the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Judges Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Surya Kant stated that it was “advisable” to stick to the above schedule.
“The high courts are in a crisis situation. There are nearly 40% vacancies in the high courts, with many of the larger high courts operating below 50% of their sanctioned strength, ”the bank noted in the order.
The Attorney General for India KK Venugopal assured the court on April 15 of this year that collegial recommendations pending before the Union government for more than 6 months will be decided within 3 months.
In December 2019, a bank consisting of Judges SK Kaul and KM Joseph issued an order stating that those recommended by the College of the Supreme Court, who are recognized by the College of the Supreme Court and the Government, will be appointed within 6 months must.
Case Title: M / s Indian Solar Manufacturers Association vs. Solar Power Developers Association
Coram: Judge Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Judge Hrishikesh Roy
Quote: LL 2021 SC 365
Click here to read / download the order