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Three High Courts to Get 11 Judges in a Week as Govt Okays Appointments

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated: June 17, 2017, 8:04 AM IST
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Three High Courts to Get 11 Judges in a Week as Govt Okays Appointments
Sources in the Law Ministry confirmed to CNN-News18 that 11 names have been cleared for appointments to the Madras, Chhattisgarh and Punjab and Haryana High Courts. (Representative Image: Getty Images)
New Delhi: Three High Courts are set to get 11 new judges in less than a week with the government clearing the appointments to ease the pending vacancies to some extent.

Sources in the Law Ministry confirmed to CNN-News18 that 11 names have been cleared for appointments to the Madras, Chhattisgarh and Punjab & Haryana High Courts.

While six names have been cleared for the Madras High Court, Chhattisgarh High Court will get three new judges. The Punjab & Haryana High Court will get two. The appointments will receive presidential assent soon and their warrants of appointments will be issued within a week, sources said.

The Madras High Court has an approved strength of 76 judges, out of which 26 positions are vacant. Six names that have been cleared by the government are the ones that had been reiterated by the Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar.

These six names were proposed by the collegium earlier but the government had sent them back, seeking some clarification. When the names were reiterated, the government approved them. This batch of six names had been pending for nearly 18 months.

Around two dozen names in two separate lists are also pending before the Supreme Court collegium.

In the Chhattisgarh High Court, the approved strength is 26 judges and half the chairs are vacant. Three will now be filled with the government accepting the recommendations made by the collegium.

In the Punjab and Haryana High Court, 39 judges’ positions are vacant against an approved strength of 85. Two names cleared by the government are judicial officers who are being promoted to higher judiciary.

As on June 1, 24 High Courts across the country are 419 judges short out of an approved strength of 1,079 — a shortfall of almost 39%.

The appointment of judges will get a substantial push if the government approves a list of 29 names for appointment as judges in the Allahabad High Court, where 76 of the 160 judges’ positions are vacant. The proposed list contains the names of 20 lawyers and nine others from the judicial services. Of these, 19 are reiteration of the names sent by the collegium in the past.

The government had wanted the collegium to reconsider some of the names recommended for appointment out of a list of 44. The collegium subsequently sent back 20 names, including 19 names already recommended. This batch is currently under consideration.

On Thursday, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad described expeditious judicial appointments as one of achievements of the Narendra Modi government.
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