A two-judge bench consisting of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul of the Supreme Court has taken a serious note of the huge vacancies of judges in the lower judiciary. Court has noted that “5133 posts out of the total of 22036 posts as on date are vacant. The information collected by the Registry of this Court from the Registries of different High Courts indicates that recruitment process/processes to fill up 4180 posts are presently underway and the said recruitment processes are poised at different stages in different States. The information collected also indicates that total of 1324 posts out of the 5133 vacancies are yet to be subjected to any recruitment process”. Court then proceeded to record that the existence of vacancies to the extent indicated is wholly unacceptable.
Supreme Court has, therefore, directed all High Court(s) and State governments to furnish the following information to the registry of the Apex Court latest by October 31, 2018:
- The dates on which the recruitment process/processes for the two categories of posts i.e. “Higher Judicial Service” and “Lower Judicial Service” had been initiated and is/are expected to be completed and appointments made;
- Whether the time taken or likely to be taken is beyond the Schedule formulated by this Court in Malik Mazhar Sultan (3) & Anr. Vs. U.P. Public Service Commission & Ors.1 If the time taken has exceeded the Schedule fixed by this Court the reasons therefor be furnished by the Registries of such High Courts/concerned authorities of the State where the recruitment is done through the Public Service Commission(s) which are in default;
- Whether the time expected to be taken to complete the on-going process/processes can be shortened and the process/processes completed before the time-schedule spelt out in Malik Mazhar Sultan (supra) which time-schedule this Court would understand to be indicating the outer time-limit and not the minimum period for completion.;
- Number of vacancies that have occurred both in the Civil Judge cadre and the Higher Judicial Service cadre since the date of issuance of notification advertising the vacancies till the date on which the process/processes is/are expected to be complete;
- Whether the infrastructure and man-power available in the different States is adequate if all the posts that are borne in the cadre are to be filled up;
Court has also appointed quite a few amicus curie state-wise in the matter. For the States of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and the North-Eastern States, senior advocate Shyam Divan has been appointed as Amicus Curiae. Further, for the States of Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Kerala, Court has appointed senior advocate K V Vishwanathan, to assist the Court as Amicus Curiae. For the States of Madhya Pradesh, Madras, Odisha, Patna and Punjab and Haryana, senior advocate Vijay Hansaria has been appointed as amicus curiae.
For the States of Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tripura and Uttarakhand, court has appointed advocate Gaurav Agrawal as Amicus Curiae.
Matter will now be heard on November 1, 2018
Read the order.