“If any High Court can’t do it, we will do it” SC reprimands HCs and State governments over burgeoning judicial vacancies

Team SoOLEGAL 1 Nov 2018 6:00pm

“If any High Court can’t do it, we will do it” SC reprimands HCs and State governments over burgeoning judicial vacancies

The Supreme Court today rebuked the High Courts and State governments for their inefficiency in filling the rapidly increasing vacancies in the subordinate judiciary.

A bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justices UU Lalit and KM Joseph while hearing a petition relating to appointments to lower judiciary and lack of infrastructure and manpower in the subordinate judiciary remarked:

Our gaze is on all states. If the vacancies cannot be filled by you, we will take over and do what is needed….There are hordes of applications by candidates who are deserving and what are you doing? Nothing was initiated to address the issue till we began monitoring! Our recurring queries have also not yielded any definite replies!”

The SC bench, then proceeded to summon the concerned Registrars General and the authorised representatives of the Chief Secretaries of the states – of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi, Chhattisgarh and the North-Eastern States – to scrutinize the status of the different High Courts in batches.

The Court also directed the Registrar Generals of High Courts in the states to be personally present on November 15 for the next date of hearing, and told them to be aware of all aspects regarding the matter.

The Court even asked the Chief Secretaries of the above States to appoint a suitable officer who is familiar with all details of the issues involved.

During the hearing, the Court had also taken note of the responses of various High Courts in the matter.

To begin with, the Court pulled up the Delhi High Court stating,

You have overshot your schedule (in filling up vacancies). No you are saying you will do it by December 2018. But you are not making any commitment on when the appointments will be made. You have just stated that the process is expected to be complete by December 2018.”

The bench then came down upon the Punjab & Haryana High Court, observing that though the examination of 2015 was cancelled, the fresh advertisement attracted a huge number of applications and when the deadline for submitting the applications approached, the official website had crashed due to high traffic.

Chief Justice Gogoi was also unimpressed by the fact that during the hearing only Additional Registrar of Delhi HC was present in the court and not the Registrar General.

Why Additional Registrar? Where is the Registrar General? He should have been here. Is he too busy to assist this court?”, asked CJI Gogoi.

The CJI then directed all the HCs and State governments to fill up vacancies stating:

If any High Court can’t do it, we will do it. We will have a centralised system. If you don’t want us to do it, then you do it. You will be in our constant gaze. We want judges in place.”

In the wake of the burgeoning number of vacancies in the subordinate judiciary across the country Chief Justice Gogoi in the previous hearing, on October 22, had passed a suo motu order and sought all High Courts and States governments to provide details in relation to the matter to the registry of the apex court by October 31.

Read more: SC takes suo motu cognisance of vacant posts in subordinate courts

Tagged: SC rebukes High Courts and State Governments   HCs   State Governments   Vacancies in Subordinate Judiciary   Judicial Appointments   CJI Ranjan Gogoi   Supreme Court   Delhi HC   Punjab & Haryana HC  
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