Rising Judiciary vacancies posed a challenge leading to 9 Supreme Court Appointments

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Rising Judiciary vacancies posed a challenge leading to 9 Supreme Court Appointments

By Dhriti Mehra

According to the National, Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) 5.75 million cases are pending in the high courts (HCs) across the country and in total 43.90 million cases with decreasing judicial strength. With 25 high courts in India with a sanctioned strength of 1098 judges, there are 455 judicial vacancies. And in the supreme court with the strength of 34 judges, there were just 24 judges available leaving 10 vacancies after the retirement of Justice Rohinton Nariman and the entry of Justice L. Nageswara. The reason behind these vacancies is retirement, resignation, demise and elevation of judges.

Steps that were advised and were followed to put stop on drop in judicial vacancies were:

  • Justice Rao, who is a direct appointee from the Bar, may appoint more direct appointments from the Supreme Court Bar to the Bench of the supreme court.
  • The present Collegium can remedy the drop by proportionate representation from the High Courts and seniority, though only conventions and not constitutional or legal mandates, that carry weight during the appointment process. And according to the law ministry for the criterion of proportionate representation, Patna Chief Justice Sanjay Karol who’s parent High Court in Himachal Pradesh is not represented in the Supreme Court. Similarly, Rajasthan Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty’s parent High Court of Orissa is also not represented in the apex court. And after the retirement of Justice Navin Sinha, there is no representation from Patna high court as well and Jharkhand Chief Justice Dr Ravi Ranjan’s parent High Court in Patna. Following Hima Kohli chief justice of Telangana is the sole woman High Court Chief Justice at present. And Karnataka high court’s Justice B.V. was reported to be under consideration to replace Justice Indu Malhotra’s vacancy in the Supreme Court.

Following the suggestions list of judges were sent and to stop increase in judicial vacancies central government cleared collegium from recommendation of August 17 by appointing nine new supreme court judges. With this the working strength of supreme court rose from 24 to 33 out of 34 judges.

I. WOMEN JUDGES

  • Chief Justice of Telangana High Court, Justice Hima Kohli
  • Karnataka High Court judge, Justice BV Nagarathna (could become the first woman Chief Justice of India)
  • Gujarat High Court judge, Justice Bela Trivedi

II. FROM BAR

  • Senior Advocate PS Narasimha

III. High Court judges and Chief Justices:

  • Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, Justice AS Oka
  • Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court, Justice Vikram Nath
  • Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court, Justice JK Maheshwari
  • Kerala High Court judge, Justice CT Ravikumar
  • Madras High Court Judge, Justice MM Sundresh

Amongst Justices Vikram Nath and BV Nagarathna and Senior Advocate PS Narasimha one will become the next Chief Justice of India (CJI).

Author is Law Student pursuing her B.A. LL.B. from the O.P. Jindal Global University.

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