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~By Manan Malik  

While keeping in view the abnormal vacancies in the subordinate judiciary at pan-India level, the Supreme Court under the provision of Article 142 of the Constitution passed a suo moto order directing all the high courts to supply relevant information in a form of a report to the registry of the Supreme Court by October 31.

5133 posts out of the total of 22036 posts as on date are vacant. The information collected by the registry of the apex court from the registries of different high courts indicates that recruitment processes to fill up 4180 posts are presently underway and the said recruitment processes are poised at different stages in different states. The information collected also indicates that 1324 vacancies out of the 5133 vacancies are yet to be subjected to any recruitment process.

The below information is directed to be made available to the Secretary General of the apex court on or before October 31:

  1. The dates on which the recruitment process/processes for the two categories of posts i.e. “Higher Judicial Service” and “Lower Judicial Service” had been initiated and is/are expected to be completed and appointments made;
  2. Whether the time taken or likely to be taken is beyond the Schedule formulated by this Court in Malik Mazhar Sultan (3) & Anr. Vs. U.P. Public Service Commission & Ors. If the time taken has exceeded the Schedule fixed by this Court the reasons therefore be furnished by the registries of such high courts/concerned authorities of the state where the recruitment is done through the Public Service Commission(s) which are in default;
  3. Whether the time expected to be taken to complete the on-going process/processes can be shortened and the process/processes completed before the time-schedule spelt out in Malik Mazhar Sultan (supra) which time-schedule this Court would understand to be indicating the outer timelimit and not the minimum period for completion;
  4. Number of vacancies that have occurred both in the Civil Judge cadre and the Higher Judicial Service cadre since the date of issuance of notification advertising the vacancies till the date on which the process/processes is/are expected to be complete;
  5. Whether the infrastructure and manpower available in the different States is adequate if all the posts that are borne in the cadre are to be filled up;

The matter will be heard along with Malik Mazhar Sultan case on November 1.

While appointing amicus curiae for all the states, the bench headed by CJI Gogoi requested Senior Counsel Shyam Divan to assist the court for the states of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and the North-Eastern states.

Similarly the bench requested Senior Counsel K V  Vishwanathan for the states of Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Kerala; Senior Counsel Vijay Hansaria for the states of Madhya Pradesh, Madras, Odisha, Patna, Punjab and Haryana and advocate Gaurav Agrawal for the states of Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tripura and Uttarakhand.

                                                                                                          —India Legal Bureau

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