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Supreme Court Collegium recommends 44 Advocates, 24 judicial officers for appointment as judges in 12 High Courts

The Supreme Court Collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana, has recommended 68 names, including 44 advocates and 24 judicial officers, for appointment as judges in 12 High Courts of the country.

The High Courts for which the recommendations have been made, include Allahabad, Rajasthan, Calcutta, Jharkhand, Jammu & Kashmir, Madras, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab & Haryana, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Assam.

A three-member Collegium, comprising the CJI, Justice UU Lalit and Justice AM Khanwilkar, cleared the names in the meetings held on August 24 and September 1. The Collegium considered the names of 112 candidates – 82 from the Bar and 31 from the Judicial Service.

A lady judicial officer belonging to the Scheduled Tribe Marli Vankung got the nod from the Collegium for elevation to the Gauhati High Court. She will be the first ever High Court Judge from Mizoram.

Besides her, nine other women candidates have been recommended for judgeship in various High Courts.

Out of the 68 names, 12 are reiterations, including 9 advocates and 3 judicial officers for 5 High Courts. These were earlier returned to the Collegium for reconsideration by the Union Ministry of Law and Justice.

On September 1, there were 465 vacancies in 25 High Courts — 281 of permanent judges and 184 of Additional Judges — against a sanctioned strength of 1,098. Of these, the Allahabad High Court accounted for 68 vacancies, Punjab & Haryana for 40 and Calcutta for 36, according to the Department of Justice.

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On August 17, the Collegium had cleared seven names for Telangana High Court. On the same day, the five-member Collegium of the Supreme Court had recommended 9 names for elevation to the Bench of Supreme Court. The names were cleared with significant pace by the Centre, leading to a historic swearing-in ceremony on August 31, when the new judges were administered oath of office as apex court judges.This has taken the total Bench strength of Supreme Court to 33, leaving it with only one vacancy that arose after the August 17 meeting of the Collegium.

These recommendations in huge numbers and in quick succession are indicative of the determination of the leadership of the Supreme Court to address the issue of vacancies in higher judiciary with utmost priority.

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