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1-min read

Sanctioned Strength of Judges is Adequate, Says Ex-Information Commissioner

For the persistent vacancy in the higher judiciary, Gandhi put part of the blame on the apex court's collegium itself, saying the truth is that the collegium has never recommended enough names to fill all vacancies.

PTI

Updated:June 24, 2019, 7:43 PM IST
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Sanctioned Strength of Judges is Adequate, Says Ex-Information Commissioner
A file image of the Supreme Court of India. (Photo Credit: PTI)
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New Delhi: The sanctioned strength of judges in the country is adequate but the persistent vacancies in the higher judiciary is leading to a heavy backlog of court cases, former Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi has said.

For the persistent vacancy in the higher judiciary, Gandhi put part of the blame on the apex court's collegium itself, saying the truth is that the collegium has never recommended enough names to fill all vacancies.

The former member of the Central Information Commission described the recent appointments in the apex court filling all its vacancies as an exception.

Gandhi made the assertion in a letter to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, who had recently written to the Union government suggesting constitutional amendments to increase the strength of the Supreme Court judges and to raise the retirement age of high court judges by three years.

In his letter to the CJI, Gandhi said according to his analysis during 2006 to 2012, the average vacancy has been 12 per cent in the Supreme Court, 32 per cent in high courts and 21 per cent in subordinate courts.

"I have done a careful analysis of the data obtained from Court News on the Supreme Court's website and this shows that the shortage is due to judges not being appointed as per the sanctioned posts," he said.

"It has also been suggested that retired judges should be appointed through tenure appointments. I presume the objective is to ensure that the citizen's Fundamental Right of speedy justice can be actually delivered. I submit that these will be palliatives which will not solve the real problem," he said.

Seeking treatment of his letter as a public interest litigation, he urged the CJI to direct the collegium and the state governments to fill up vacancies in higher courts and the subordinate judiciary respectively.

"It is claimed that despite the best efforts of all stakeholders it has not been possible to appoint judges to bring the working judges' strength anywhere close to their sanctioned strength. It is also stated that many eminent lawyers are frustrated since they were not appointed as judges of the higher courts. These appear to be contradictory statements," he said.

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