At least 26 recommendations for appointment of judges to the Bombay High Court, which is currently functioning at almost half its sanctioned strength, are pending with the government at different stages of consideration, The Indian Express has learnt.
The Bombay High Court currently has 57 judges against a sanctioned strength of 96 judges. At least five more judges are expected to retire this year.
On February 16, the Supreme Court Collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana, had recommended the appointment of 10 advocates as judges. While that list is pending with the government, sources said the High Court Collegium, headed by Chief Justice Dipankar Datta, has sent two more lists.
In December last year, the High Court proposed the elevation of 10 advocates for appointment as judges of the HC. While this list is yet to be placed before the Supreme Court Collegium, sources told The Indian Express that at least one advocate has withdrawn his consent for appointment.
In April this year, the High Court is learnt to have sent another list of seven district court judges to be considered for appointment as judges of the HC. That too, is yet to be placed before the SC Collegium.
Usually, the HC’s recommendations are made one batch at a time, allowing the Collegium and government time to consider and process the list. However, with the government dragging its feet on the February recommendations when the High Court is facing severe vacancies, two more lists have been sent.
The SC Collegium’s recommendation in February too came after it had earlier returned a list of 18 advocates to the High Court as they were recommended by then Bombay HC Chief Justice BP Dharmadhikari. Both the Collegium and the government had raised objections that the names were recommended by Justice Dharmadhikari during his short tenure of just over a month as CJ between March and April 2020.