The Supreme Court will on Friday hear a petition concerning the delay in the appointment of judges to various high courts. The apex court is particularly peeved at the pendency of 35 appointments it had cleared for the Allahabad High Court — the first batch of eight on January 28 and the second for appointment of 27 judges in August — both are yet to be notified. The Allahabad High Court is functioning with less than 50 percent of its strength with just 77 judges against the approved strength of 160.
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These appointments assume significance considering that the country’s largest High Court accounts for about 25 percent of nearly 40 lakh cases pending in all 24 high courts and would have helped bring down vacancies from a high of 83 to 48, improving the bench strength to 112.
Annoyed by the inordinate delay in notifying appointments, Chief Justice of India T S Thakur had during the last hearing warned the government of passing an order and “fastening accountability” if the logjam continued which, he said, stifled judicial work.
In the last week of September, the government notified appointment of at least 25 judges. The SC collegium is believed to have cleared more than 100 names for appointment to several high courts after scrapping the National Judicial Appointments Commission in October 2015.
In the first batch of recommendations sent to the government in January for the Allahabad high court, the apex court collegium is believed to have recommended eight out of 19 advocates approved by the Allahabad High Court collegium and rejected 11.
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