After several protests and petitions before different Courts, the Centre on Friday finally notified appointment of four Additional Judges to Calcutta High Court.
Those appointed are:
The High Court has since last year witnessed several rounds of protests against the growing judicial vacancies. In fact, in July, 2017 the High Court had stepped in to pull up the Centre for its “step motherly attitude”, and had urged it to fill up such vacancies to “prevent the system from collapsing”.
The Bench comprising Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice Debi Prosad Dey had then observed, "In a democratic polity where the rule of law is dominant, the independence of the judiciary is regarded as a basic structure of the Constitution, right to life and personal liberty is so precious for all and facilitating proper functioning of the High Court is a Constitutional necessity imposing a non-negotiable obligation on all the stakeholders to appoint Judges and thereby fill up vacancies with utmost expedition so that access to justice becomes a reality, rendering a particular High Court ineffective by adopting a step motherly attitude cannot but draw the frown of a civilized society.
In such grave and ominous situation, this Bench expresses hope and trust that the authorities wielding power would spare a thought for this Court and take immediate ameliorative measures so as to prevent the system from collapsing with the ensuing retirement of 7 (seven) more Judges by early November, 2017 and 3 (three) more by early February, 2018."
Thereafter, in February this year, the Calcutta High Court Bar Association had announced a five-day long cease work, "as a mark of protest against the authority for not taking any appropriate and effective steps to fill up the vacancy of the Judges of this Hon'ble Court since long".
A society named the Youth Bar Association of India had then moved the Apex Court praying for expeditious appointment of Judges to the High Court, as well as directions to bring the strike to an end.
The four appointments would, however, provide little respite, with the vacancies at the High Court (as per statistics available at the start of this month) still lingering at more than 50% of its approved strength.