The President on Thursday appointed five High Court judges — four for the Karnataka High Court and one for the Calcutta High Court.
Advocates S R Krishna Kumar, Ashok Kinagi, Suraj Govindaraj and Sachin Magadum were appointed as judges in the Karnataka High Court and advocate Kausik Chanda in the Calcutta High Court.
The five appointments come at a time when vacancies in high courts have soared to an all-time high this year. According to data released by the Ministry of Law and Justice, as on September 1, the 25 high courts across the country had 414 vacancies against the sanctioned strength of 1,079 judges.
Other recommendations made by the Supreme Court Collegium to the same high courts along with these five appointees are pending.
On March 25, the Collegium recommended eight advocates for elevation from the nine names sent from the Karnataka High Court. While four of those have been appointed, the recommendations for Indrakumar Arun, Mohammed Ghouse,
E Seetharamaiah Indiresh and Vishwajith Shetty are pending.
In December last year, the Calcutta High Court Collegium, headed by then Chief Justice Debasish Kar Gupta, sent names of nine advocates to the SC Collegium. However, it picked only five advocates — Jaytosh Majumdar, Amitesh Banerjee, Raja Basu Chowdhury, Lapita Banerji and Sakya Sen.
On January 10, the HC Collegium, headed by then Acting Chief Justice Biswanath Somadder, made two more recommendations — Additional Solicitor General Kausik Chanda and Ranajit Chatterjee.
However, on July 24, the SC Collegium in a separate resolution recommended Chanda for judgeship and remitted Chatterjee’s candidature to the HC since his average net professional income is below the prescribed income limit. All six names were recommended in two different resolutions on the same day.
While Chanda is an Additional Solicitor General appointed by the central government in 2015, Mazumdar, Banerjee and Sen are state government advocates, pleaders and standing counsels appointed by the West Bengal government.