15 April 2021 4:14 AM GMT
The Union Ministry of Law and Justice is yet to receive recommendations from High Courts for 220 vacancies of judges, the Attorney General for India KK Venugopal has told the Supreme Court.In High Courts across the country, there are 416 vacancies out of the sanctioned strength of 1080. Recommendations for 196 names are pending at the level of either Central Government or Supreme...
The Union Ministry of Law and Justice is yet to receive recommendations from High Courts for 220 vacancies of judges, the Attorney General for India KK Venugopal has told the Supreme Court.
In High Courts across the country, there are 416 vacancies out of the sanctioned strength of 1080. Recommendations for 196 names are pending at the level of either Central Government or Supreme Court Collegium.
The AG revealed this information in a statement filed before the Supreme Court in a case relating to filling up of judicial vacancies. On March 25, a bench headed by the Chief Justice of India had required the Attorney General to make a statement regarding the time needed to clear the recommendations which are pending at the level of Central Government.
AG Venugopal mentioned that the High Courts are expected to send the recommendations 6 months prior to the occurrence of vacancies.
According to the AG's statement, the High Courts of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Orissa and Sikkim have not recommended names for vacancies from bar which have been existing for 5 years.
Also, High Courts of Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi, Gauhati, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Patna, Punjab and Haryana, Rajasthan, Telangana, Tripura and Uttarakhand have not recommended names for vacancies from bar which have been existing for 1 to 5 years.
Further, the High Courts of Manipur, Punjab and Haryana have not recommended names for vacancies from service which have been existing for 5 years.
Furthermore, the High Courts of Allahabad, Andhra Pradesh, Calcutta, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madras, Orissa and Patna have not recommended names for vacancies from service which have been existing for 1 to 5 years.
The AG has also indicated the status of 180 proposals of High Court Collegium, a list of which was furnished to him by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul on the previous date of hearing. Out of the said 180 proposals, 38 proposals are yet to be submitted to the Supreme Court Collegium, the oldest proposal being from the HC of J&K dated 18.11.2020 and the latest being from the Chhattisgarh High Court dated 25.02.2021.
The statement also mentioned that the Ministry is yet to receive any recommendations for the vacancies in the Supreme Court, which at present has 5 vacancies.
The AG made the statement in the the case PLR Projects Ltd vs Mahanadi Coalfields Pvt Ltd, which is a transfer petition in 2019 seeking to transfer to Supreme Court a case from the Orissa High Court on account of the lawyers strike there. While considering the case, the Supreme Court had delved into the issue of pendency of collegium recommendations at the Ministry level.
"…The convention laid down is that an endeavour should be made that recommendations for vacancies are sent six months in advance. This is an aspect which the Chief Justices of the High Courts would look into. This period of six months arises from the expectation that the said period would be enough for processing the names from the recommendation stage till appointment.
Thus, sending names six months in advance would be meaningful only if the process till appointment is complete within six months which is a work the Government must attend to", the bench had said in an order passed in November 2019.
On the last date of hearing, March 25, the bench comprising CJI Bobde, Justices SK Kaul and Surya Kant observed that the Union Law Ministry must clear the collegium recommendations within a reasonable time period.