The Government has informed the Supreme Court that it can fast track the appointment of 50 more judges at Allahabad High Court , and the requisite court infrastructure to support them, which would include courtrooms and judge’s chambers can be readied by December.
The proposal to increase the sanctioned strength of the Allahabad HC, up from its current 160 to 200 judges has already been approved by the Law ministry. However, the Allahabad HC, the biggest HC in India currently has only 90 judges, with 70 vacant posts. The Chief Justice of India (CJI), R M Lodha had in an recent statement said that the allocation decided upon by the government was too low and that this had resulted in lack of infrastructure to accommodate judges and fill up vacancies.
On the recommendations of the CJI, the Law ministry had then set up a review meeting with the Supreme Court’s apex committee on court management under the aegis of Justice H L Dattu.
The Law ministry informed the Apex Court’s committee that work was progressing on creating the additional requisite infrastructure which was needed to accommodate the 30 additional judges, in addition to the 50 for whom the courtrooms would be ready by the month of December.
The SC has had difficulties filling up the vacancies in the past, with a reportedly 300 positions remaining vacant against a sanctioned strength of 906 judges in 21 HC’s across the country. The working strength of the HC’s at present is only around 611 judges, which include additional as well as permanent judges.
The current scenario is even worse in the lower courts, with more than 3,300 posts remaining vacant against a sanctioned strength of 17,715 judges. The SC has set up an ambitious program of making the combined strength of the judiciary to 30,000 in five years, which going by the present circumstances seems to be an increasingly difficult target to attain.