The Supreme Court has pulled up the Centre on less strength of High Court Judges, while hearing a matter pertaining to investigation by the Government arising from anti-dumping proceedings.
“If there is some element of loss being caused by the inability of the judicial institution to take up matters, this is a direct consequence of there being inadequate number of Judges,” observed a bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Hrihikesh Roy yesterday, while hearing two Special Leave petitions, one of which was filed by the Centre along with an urgent application for hearing the matter in a commercial dispute.
The bench observed that since, only notice was issued by the High Court and the parties were called upon to file responses, this is hardly a stage of a proceeding where the Supreme Court of the country should be asked to step in.
Additional Solicitor General Madhvi Diwan argued that the High Court, while issuing notice, only recorded the submissions of one party, while the other interested party submitted that there may be a possibility of irreparable loss.
The bench then observed that the High Court does not find it feasible to accommodate such matters at an early date due to the inadequacies of the number of High Court Judges, including the Delhi High Court.
The bench then addressed ASG Madhvi Diwan and stated that the recommendations for appointment of Judge takes months and years to reach the Collegium and thereafter for months and years, no decisions are taken post the Collegium, the judicial institution of the High Courts is manned by a number of Judges, where it will become almost impossible to have an early adjudication even on important issues.
“The government of India cannot take an argument that a judge is not able to hear cases expeditiously because the government itself does not appoint judges in the high courts. The Chief Justice of India had last week talked about tribunals. The situation in the High Court is also the same. You (Central government) have reduced the number of Judges to almost half the sanctioned strength,” it said.
The bench further observed that when one of the Judges (Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul) was a judge of Delhi High Court, the strength of Judges was 33 which remains only 29 now, less than 50 percent strength of the High Court.
The Court also took account of the sorry state of affairs of the Government’s conduct, as the Supreme Court, being conscious of the urgency of the matter, issued notice in one of the SLP filed by a party in this matter and granted four weeks time to the Centre to file their reply, thereafter the Centre sought adjournment for four more weeks to file their reply and the matter was again moved till coming October.
During this time, the Centre instead of filing their reply, filed a fresh petition. The bench, while dismissing the petition filed by the Centre, said “On one hand, the Government does not deem it expedient to even file the counter affidavits while it has the ability to draw the special leave petitions and file the same before this Court. So much for the urgency expressed by the Government of India in the present proceedings!”