Of the 604 high court judges appointed in the last five years, 72 belong to the Other Backward Classes category, 18 belong to the Scheduled Castes category, and only nine belong to the Scheduled Tribes (ST) category. Only 34 of the 604 judges belong to minority communities.
OF the 604 high court judges appointed from 2018 till July 17 this year, 458 belong to the ‘general’ category.
This revelation was made in the Parliament today by Union Minister of Law and Justice and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Arjun Ram Meghwal.
Meghwal was responding to a question by member of parliament (MP) and president of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), Asaduddin Owaisiregarding inequitable representation of weaker sections in the appointment of judges to the high courts.
Owaisi had asked: “Whether it is a fact that 79 percent judges appointed during the last five years in all high courts were from upper castes indicating inequitable representation of backward and minorities?”
Meghwal also informed the Lok Sabha that of the 604 high court judges appointed in the last five years, 72 belong to the Other Backward Classes category, 18 belong to the Scheduled Castes category, and only nine belong to the Scheduled Tribes (ST) category.
He further stated that only 34 of the 604 judges belong to minority communities.
The minister also informed the Lok Sabha that no information was available regarding 13 judges as they did not fill in the relevant information at the time of their consideration for appointment to the post of judges.
Owaisi asked another question regarding the steps taken by the government to raise the issue of equitable representation before the Chief Justice of India and chief justices of other high courts to ensure social diversity and social justice in the appointment of judges.
Owaisi wanted to know if inequitable representation has increased after the collegium system for the appointment of judges was put in place.
If the answer was in the affirmative, he wanted to know what steps were being taken “in this regard in consultation with the Supreme Court and high courts?”
The minister informed the Parliament that the appointment of judges of the Supreme Court and high courts is made under Articles124,217 and224 of the Constitution of India, which do not provide for reservation for any caste or class of persons.
But the government has been requesting the chief justices of high courts that while sending proposals for appointment of judges, due consideration be given to suitable candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, other minorities and women to ensure social diversity in the appointment of judges in high courts, the minister stated.
The Parliament was also informed that information on the social background of judges is provided by the recommendees for elevation to high court judges as per the revised annexures to the memorandum of procedure (MoP) which came into effect in 2018.
Recent collegium resolutions also show that the collegium has taken into consideration social diversity while making recommendations to the government.