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SC issues directions to 8 High Courts, State Governments on appointment of Judges

The Supreme Court on November 15, 2018 issued a series of directions to eight High Courts and State Governments on the appointment of judges to the vacant positions in the subordinate judiciary.

The directions were issued to Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Goa, NCT Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Manipur, and Meghalaya.

The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Sanjay Krishan Kaul and Justice K. M. Joseph also pulled up these state governments for their laid-back attitude in providing infrastructure and manpower for the functioning of the subordinate courts.

Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi clearly stated that the top court wants vacancies in subordinate judiciary to be filled up along with the required infrastructure for their functioning. He asserted that, "We need judges, we need court rooms and the staff".

Delhi

The Registrar General told the court that there are 201 vacancies out of which recruitment process for 100 posts is underway. Regarding the remaining 100 vacancies, the Registrar General told the Court that it has not been advertised due to lack of infrastructure to house the courtrooms. However, this was not stated in the affidavit submitted by the High Court.

Regarding the infrastructure, the Court was told that 167 court buildings are needed. The Court was also apprised of the fact that construction was underway with respect to court buildings in four District courts and would be completed by October 2021. However, the Supreme Court told that it cannot wait for three years for completion of the same.

The Court further directed the Chief Secretary to file an affidavit indicating the difficulties and possible solutions in this regard.

Uttar Pradesh

More than 1000 posts are lying vacant in the subordinate judiciary in the State. In the higher judicial services, 125 posts were advertised on May 10, 2018. The Court directed that the recruitment process for the same should be completed by March 31, 2019.

For the 239 posts advertised for recruitment on November 12, 2018, the Court ordered the completion of recruitment process by July 31, 2019. The state was also given timeline for putting up court infrastructure, support staff and for accommodation for the judges.

West Bengal

The bench took note of the way the things were progressing in West Bengal. Of the 23 vacancies which were advertised, the recruitment process for 17 has already been completed.

However, the Court was critical of the lack of infrastructure provided to the judiciary by the State government. It directed the Chief Secretary and Finance Secretary to file affidavits indicating the time to complete the construction of court buildings and residential units.

Court’s directions to other states

The bench noted that there were a total of 22,036 posts in the subordinate judiciary. Out of these, 5,133 posts are lying vacant.

The court was satisfied the way things were progressing in Maharashtra and Assam.

It ordered the Manipur High Court to initiate the recruitment process with respect to the 5 vacancies of District Judges and complete it as expeditiously as possible.

The Court directed the High Court of Meghalaya to complete the construction of the 18 buildings in a time bound manner.

The court noted that out of the 72 vacancies in Higher Judicial Services in the Chhattisgarh High Court, recruitment process with respect to 62 vacancies is underway and will be completed by February 2019.

The court will consider the pleas of Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Kerala governments in the next hearing on December 5, 2018.

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