Passing a suo motu order in the wake of the alarming number of vacancies in the subordinate judiciary across the country, Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi on Monday required, under Article 142, all High Courts to report to the registry of the apex court the following information by October 31-
1. The dates on which the recruitment process/processes for the two categories of posts i.e. “Higher Judicial Service” and “Lower Judicial Service” had been initiated and is/are expected to be completed and appointments made;
2. Whether the time taken or likely to be taken is beyond the Schedule formulated by this Court in Malik Mazhar Sultan (3) & Anr. Vs. U.P. Public Service Commission & Ors.1 If the time taken has exceeded the Schedule fixed by this Court the reasons therefor be furnished by the Registries of such High Courts/concerned authorities of the State where the recruitment is done through the Public Service Commission(s) which are in default;
3. Whether the time expected to be taken to complete the on-going process/processes can be shortened and the process/processes completed before the time-schedule spelt out in Malik Mazhar Sultan (supra) which time-schedule this Court would understand to be indicating the outer time limit and not the minimum period for completion.;
4. Number of vacancies that have occurred both in the Civil Judge cadre and the Higher Judicial Service cadre since the date of issuance of notification advertising the vacancies till the date on which the process/processes is/are expected to be complete;
5. Whether the infrastructure and man-power available in the different States is adequate if all the posts that are borne in the cadre are to be filled up
The Chief Justice directed the Supreme Court registry to register a suo motu writ petition, scheduling it to be next heard on November 1.
The Chief Justice noted that the 5133 vacancies as revealed by the information collected by the registries of different high courts is “unacceptable”. The bench, also comprising Justice S. K. Kaul, observed that the recruitment process in respect of 4180 posts is underway, being at different stages in different states and that a total of 1324 posts are yet to be subjected to any recruitment.
"5133 posts out of the total of 22036 posts as on date are vacant. The information collected by the Registry of this Court from the Registries of different High Courts indicates that recruitment process/processes to fill up 4180 posts are presently underway and the said recruitment processes are poised at different stages in different States. The information collected also indicates that total of 1324 posts out of the 5133 vacancies are yet to be subjected to any recruitment process".
"There is an obvious mis-match of the figures mentioned above which is being also looked into by the Registry of this Court. The existence of vacancies to the extent indicated is wholly unacceptable. The Registry of this Court is, therefore, directed to register a suo motu writ petition".
Senior Advocates Shyam Diwav, K. V. Viswanathan and Vijay Hansaria and Advocate Gaurav Agrawal are appointed as the Amicus for different states.