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Calcutta HC Warns Govt, Law Minister of 'Appropriate Action' if Judges Not Appointed

Blaming the apathy and the indifference by political executive, the court said the law ministry must give "top-most priority" to the appointment of judges, adding that the continuing impasse may lead to a collapse of justice delivery system.

Utkarsh Anand | News18.com

Updated:July 13, 2017, 9:49 AM IST
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Calcutta HC Warns Govt, Law Minister of 'Appropriate Action' if Judges Not Appointed
File photo of the Calcutta High Court.
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Kolkata: Pulling up the Centre over its "continued silence" on the appointment of judges, the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday warned the government and Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad that "appropriate action" will be taken if vacancies are not filled on a priority basis.

HC warns Govt, Law Min of 'appropriate action' if judges not appointed

The HC's observations came as it dealt with bail plea of Bengali actor Vikram Chatterjee who has been arrested in connection with the death of model Sonika Chauhan in a car crash on 29 April, 2017.

"This Bench is of the opinion that the concerns expressed in this order should reach the Honourable Law Minister of the Union immediately so that the matter relating to appointment of Judges in this Court is given topmost priority. The Registrar General shall do the needful without wasting any time," said a bench of Justices comprising Dipankar Dutta and D P Dey.

The court also questioned the government if Lok Sabha would function without suitable strength.

The court made it clear that non-appointment of judges in the court will mean interference in the course of administration of justice and will be viewed "seriously" as there is a burning need to increase the number of judges at all levels.

"The politeness of this Bench may not be understood as weakness on its part to be firm. It is made clear that continued silence of the Central Government in the matter of appointment of Judges in the near future despite the concerns expressed in this order, would certainly be viewed seriously as interference in the course of administration of justice and followed by appropriate action as authorised in law," the court added.

Blaming the apathy and the indifference by political executive, the court said the law ministry must give "top-most priority" to the appointment of judges, adding that the continuing impasse may lead to a collapse of justice delivery system.

"In such grave and ominous situation, this Bench expresses hope and trust that the authorities wielding power would spare a thought for this Court and take immediate ameliorative measures so as to prevent the system from collapsing with the ensuing retirement of 7 (seven) more Judges by early November, 2017 and 3 (three) more by early February, 2018," said the court.

Meanwhile, the Calcutta High Court faces acute shortage of judges. Currently, the court has a functional strength of 34 judges, against a total sanctioned strength of 72.
| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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