As many as six high courts in the country are without full-time chief justices (CJ) for the past many months with the Supreme Court collegium failing to make any recommendations for the crucial posts.
These include the Delhi High Court,Andhra Pradesh High Court,Punjab and Haryana High Court,Kerala High Court,Madhya Pradesh High Court and Gujarat High Court.
Sources in the Union Ministry of Law and Justice told The Indian Express that the Supreme Court collegium has not sent its recommendation to the government and hence the appointments have not been finalised.
In the Delhi HC,its senior-most judge,Justice A K Sikri,has been officiating as Acting Chief Justice since September 10,2011,when the last CJ,Justice Dipak Mishra,was elevated to the Supreme Court.
The Punjab and Haryana HC has been functioning under an Acting Chief Justice since April this year first under Justice M M Kumar (who was last month appointed CJ of J&K HC) and then Justice Jasbir Singh. Incidentally,the J&K HC was also without a full-time CJ for some time after the elevation of previous CJ FMI Kalifulla to the Supreme Court in March.
Madhya Pradesh,Kerala and Gujarat HCs are also functioning under Acting Chief Justices since last year. While Justice Sushil Hankauli has been the Acting CJ of the Madhya Pradesh HC since August 5,2011,Justice Manjula Chellur has been the Acting CJ at the Kerala HC since November 9,2011. Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya is the Acting CJ of the Gujarat HC since November 8,2011. Justice Bhattacharyas case is unique in the sense that he took over as Acting Chief Justice the same day as he was transferred to the Gujarat HC.
In Andhra Pradesh,Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose took oath as Acting CJ on June 25,replacing Justice V Eswaraiah,who had been appointed Acting CJ following the elevation of previous CJ Madan B Lokur to the Supreme Court.