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Advocates Body Moves Bombay High Court To Fill Vacancy Of HC Judges

Sharmeen Hakim
30 March 2022 3:56 AM GMT
Advocates Body Moves Bombay High Court To Fill Vacancy Of HC Judges
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The Bombay Lawyers Association has approached the Bombay High Court against the high vacancy of judges in the institution and for a permanent mechanism for filling up such vacancies in time. Despite a sanctioned strength of 94 judges, the Bombay HC is currently functioning with a strength of only 57 judges. Eleven judges from the Bombay HC retire this year. Therefore by the end of...

The Bombay Lawyers Association has approached the Bombay High Court against the high vacancy of judges in the institution and for a permanent mechanism for filling up such vacancies in time.

Despite a sanctioned strength of 94 judges, the Bombay HC is currently functioning with a strength of only 57 judges. Eleven judges from the Bombay HC retire this year. Therefore by the end of 2022, the HC will have only 48 judges if the vacancies are not filled.

The petitioner association states that it's been a while since Court's sanctioned strength of judges was filled.

"Due to the shortage of Judges, it is experienced that there is a huge pendency of matters for years together. There are so many matters not even listed for hearing. Due to shortage of Judges, no urgent listing is granted. The official data from the website of Hon'ble this Court shows the case clearance rate in the year 2021 is 67.52%, which means there are pendency of 32.48 per cent cases in the year 2021," the petition states.

It therefore adds, "The petitioner is filing the present Public Interest Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India seeking diction for permanent mechanism to fill up the vacancies of Judges as soon it arises. The Petitioner is also seeking directions to fill up the vacant posts of Judges at Bombay Hon'ble High Court as per sanctioned strength."

The respondents to the petition include the Registrar Generals of the Supreme Court of India and the Bombay High Court, Ministry of Law and Justice, Department of Law and Judiciary (Maharashtra).

The petitioner states that it is a body of advocates practicing at Bombay High Court with the primary purpose of undertaking activities to facilitate the improvement in the quality of legal services.

According to the petitioners while the sanctioned strength of Judges for High Court of Bombay is 94, 71 of them are meant to be permanent and 23 are additional judges.

The Bombay High Court is one of the three High Courts in India established at the Presidency Towns by Letters patent granted by Queen Victoria, on June 26, 1862. It was inaugurated on August 14, 1862 under the Indian High Courts Act, 1861.

The Bombay High Court with its principal seat in Mumbai, has benches in Nagpur, Aurangabad and Goa, as also in the union territories of Dadra, Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.

Judges are appointed by the President of India in communication and recommendation of the collegium of the High Court and Supreme Court of India under Article 217 of the Constitution. The number of Judges in a court is decided by dividing the average number of cases filed in the last five years by the national average, or the average rate of disposal of main cases per judge per year in that High Court, whichever is higher.

"The Petitioner states and submits that out of 57 working Judges, 9 Judges are going to be retired at the end of this year. In the circumstances, if the vacancies are not been filled up. the working strength of Judges at Bombay High Court will be decreased to 48 at the end of this year 2022."

The petitioners claimed that "not filling of all the vacant post of Judges is a straight away denial of access of justice to the citizens. It is pertinent to note that not filling up the vacancies of Judges in time causes a delay in delivery of justice. The Petitioner further submits that shortage of judges in judiciary is violation of fundamental rights to citizens."

The association says that it is high time a permanent mechanism is created for timely filling up the posts of Judges is soon as it gets vacant.

"That people are languishing in jail and their hail application are pending due to non-availability of Judges."

The petition will come up in due course.

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