Over 61 recommendations by 13 high courts on appointment of new judges and elevation of additional judges are awaiting a final nod of the Supreme Court collegium, a senior functionary has said. These recommendations include 36 names sent by eight high courts for appointment as judges and 25 names sent by five high courts for elevation of additional judges to permanent judges.
The recommendations were sent to the SC collegium when Justice J S Khehar was the chief justice of India. He demitted office on August 27 and Justice Dipak Misra took over as the new CJI the next day. No fresh recommendation has been made by any of the high courts after Justice Misra took over as the CJI, the functionary said. The eight high courts from where names have been sent for fresh appointments include Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madras, Gujarat and Bombay, the functionary said.
Besides these names, the SC collegium has to take a call on appointing chief justices in six high courts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Calcutta, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Manipur. These high courts are being headed by acting chief justices.
According to law ministry data, as on September 1, while the approved strength of judges in the 24 high courts is 1,079, there were 413 vacancies and these high courts were functioning with an effective working strength of 666 judges. As per procedure, the three-member HC collegium recommends a name to the Supreme Court collegium. The recommendation is initially sent to the law ministry, which attaches an IB report about the candidate’s record and forwards it to the SC collegium for a final call.