NEW DELHI: In its two sittings in a week, the Supreme Court collegium cleared 56 names, including 36 judicial officers and 20 advocates, for appointment as judges of nine HCs, of which 35 names were approved by the collegium in its meeting on Monday.
This is the second highest number of names cleared in a single sitting for appointment as HC judges during the tenure of CJI N V Ramana. On September 3 last year, the CJI-led three-member collegium had created a record by recommending to the Centre names of 65 persons for appointment as judges of 12 high courts, many of which are hamstrung by huge vacancies in posts of judges even when they are groaning under heavy pendency of cases.
The collegium comprising the CJI and Justices U U Lalit and A M Khanwilkar, who will retire on July 29, on Monday recommended names of six advocates for appointment as judges of the Telangana HC, which at present has 15 vacancies. It also recommended names of 13 advocates for appointment as judges of Punjab and Haryana HC, which has vacancies for 38 judges.
The collegium chose nine judicial officers for appointment as judges of the Calcutta HC, which has 26 vacant posts. With recommendation to appoint two judicial officers as judges in Gauhati HC, it would attain full strength of 24 judges.
The Orissa HC, which has 11 vacancies, would get one advocate and two judicial officers as judges if the Centre accepted the collegium’s recommendations. Two judicial officers in Himachal Pradesh also got recommended for appointment as HC judges, and if they are appointed, the vacancies in the HC would be reduced to six.
About 381 posts of judges are vacant as on July 1 in the 25 HCs, which have a cumulative sanctioned strength of 1,108 judges. The vacancy, which was touching 50% in April last year, has been reduced to 34% in last one and half years.
In its last meeting on July 20, the collegium had recommended names of 21 judicial officers for appointment as judges of three HCs. Of the seven names recommended for the Allahabad HC, five were reiterations of earlier recommendations. Allahabad HC has a huge vacancy of 67 posts of judges. It had also recommended seven advocates and five judicial officers for appointment as judges of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka HCs respectively.