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Madhya Pradesh High Court disposes of PIL seeking appointment of more HC judges

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The Madhya Pradesh High Court disposed of a public interest litigation seeking the filling of half of the total 53 posts of judges with the remark that the appointment process of new judges is going on, so it cannot interfere at present. Discussions continue at the administrative level to increase the number of judges in the High Court, the Court said on Thursday.

The case was heard before the division bench of Chief Justice Mohammad Rafique and Justice Prakash Shrivastava.

During the hearing, Advocates Ajay Raizada, Anjana Shrivastava and Abhimanyu Singh appeared on behalf of petitioners, Dr MA Khan and Amarjeet Singh Panwar, residents of Jabalpur.

The counsel argued that the Madhya Pradesh High Court was established in 1956. Currently, the total sanctioned posts of judges here are 53, while the number of judges appointed is just 28. It is clear that almost half the posts are vacant.

They further argued that out of the current 28 judges of the Madhya Pradesh HC, 8 are to retire in 2021. In this way, the number of judges will be reduced to just 20. The situation in the High Court with the burden of more than three lakh pending cases cannot be denied.

The selection process of judges in the High Court should be such that a new judge should take over before an old judge can retire. This makes the principle of balance effective. Also there is no loss of judicial days. There is also the burden of excess of work on the existing judges, claimed the petitioner.

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The petition further laid emphasis, that on June 1, 2020, Madhya Pradesh High Court advocates Purushendra Kaurava, Shashank Shekhar Dugwekar, Dr Vivek Sharan, Raghavendra Dixit, Manoj Kumar, Pranay Verma, Nidhi Patankar were recommended for High Court judges. Moreover, six names were also sent from the higher judicial service. But the process of appointing 13 new judges is currently awaited.

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