Five additional judges to the Gauhati High Court were appointed tonight, taking the working strength to 18. A notification issued by the Law Ministry said Achintya Malia Bujor Barua, Kalyan Rai Surana, Prasanta Kumar Deka, Nelson Sailo and Ajit Borthakur have been appointed as additional judges for a period of two years.
The new appointments are from both the bar and the bench. The Gauhati High Court has a sanctioned strength of 24 but was so far functioning with 13 judges. Once the new judges take oath, the working strength will go up to 18. Five judges were last week appointed to the Delhi High Court. The Delhi High Court has an approved strength of 60 but is functioning with 34 judges — a shortage of 26.
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The government is also considering recommendations for 35 judges in Allahabad High Court, eight of which have been pending since January.
In a scathing attack, the Supreme Court had last Friday said the government cannot bring the judiciary to a “grinding halt” by not appointing high court judges despite the recommendations of its collegium long ago and said it could as well close the courts and lock “justice out”.
“You cannot bring the entire institution (of judiciary) to a grinding halt. If there is a problem with the name of a person, please send it back and ask us to reconsider,” a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur had told Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, representing the Centre.