Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has stated that there were 398 Judges' vacancies in the High Courts across the country, as of September 1, 2020.
The development comes in the backdrop of a concern raised by Senior Advocate P. Wilson over "mounting judicial vacancies in High Courts", during Zero Hour in Rajya Sabha on February 4, 2020.
However, he has clarified that the same is due to non-adherence of timeline for recommendation of Judges by the High Courts and not due to any stand-off between the Executive and the Judiciary.
"While every effort is made to fill up the existing vacancies expeditiously, vacancies do keep on arising on account of retirement, resignation or elevation of Judges. As per the MoP, the Chief Justice of the High Court is required to initiate the proposals for filling up of vacancies of Judges in the High Court six months prior to the occurrence of vacancies but this timeline is rarely adhered to.
There is no stand-off between the Executive and the Judiciary. Filling up vacancies of Judges in the High Courts is continuous collaborative process between the executive and Judiciary as it requires consultation and approval of various constitutional authorities," the Union Minister said.
'Centre Sitting Over Collegium Recommendations', P Wilson Raises Issue Of HC Judges Vacancies In Rajya Sabha
"Out of 1079 sanctioned posts of high court judges in 25 high courts, there are 401 vacancies. Nearly 1/3rd of sanctioned strength is allowed to lay vacant and the casualty is citizens of this country. The time has come for the Parliament to resolve the standoff between the Executive and the Judiciary in the deadlock in appointment of high court judges to various high courts within the time limit," Wilson had said during the 2020 Budget Session in Parliament.
Refuting these allegations, Mr. Prasad said,
"Differences of opinion, if any are mutually reconciled by the Executive and the Judiciary to ensure that only apposite person is appointed as High Court Judge. However, the Government is committed to fill up the vacancies in the High Courts expeditiously."
He also intimated that the Government has already appointed 48 new Judges in the High Courts as on September 1, 2020.
Click Here To Download Letter