The Supreme Court on Wednesday heard the plea filed by an NGO seeking the appointment of additional judges in high courts in order to lower pendency of cases. The bench comprising chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde, Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice Surya Kant adjourned the matter for two weeks.
During the hearing, Advocate Vikas Singh said senior lawyers from Jharkhand can be part of the Supreme Court Bar Association and practice at the parent high court. This move will also help in filling the vacancy. He added that the process of appointment of judges must start on time as the delay can cause the judges reaching their retirement date.
During the hearing, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal submitted data on pendency of cases. CJI Bobde asked him to study a chart prepared by Justice Kaul about vacancies, vacancies in parent high courts and proposals pending with the government and collegium. Justice Kaul said the vacancies have been brought down to 104 from 150. However, some vacancies have been pending for a long time now, which is a matter of huge concern.
The top court also asked the Ministry of Law and Justice to lay down a timeline and inform how long it would take to respond to recommendations made by state HCs regarding appointment of judges. The CJI also sought a response from the high courts on the issues they face so that the Supreme Court could look into cases that have not been addressed as yet. The bench said the court will address issues concerning both the judicial as well as the administrative side.
The Apex Court also pulled up the Centre for not responding on the matter for more than a year. It said the Centre must give a clear timeline and not come up with excuses like pendency of cases with Intelligence Bureau or lack of response from chief minister etc.