Updated: July 26, 2018 6:59:36 am
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said he is set to send by this weekend remaining of the 126 names shortlisted for appointment as high court judges to the Supreme Court collegium, as the government seeks to fill gaps in higher judiciary and meet a target of maximum number of appointments it has set for itself in terms of judicial appointments.
Giving details with regard to the appointment of judges in 24 high courts, he said, “In the year 2016, we appointed 126 HC judges, which was highest in last 13 years. Earlier, the average was 72 to 82. Since 1989, I have seen the record.”
He was speaking at an event to mark the inauguration of the Delhi High Court’s state-of-the-art building here.
“In 2017, we appointed 115 judges in HCs…This year we have appointed 34 judges till now. We have sent 93 recommendations to the Supreme Court collegium and by this weekend we will be able to send total 126 references to the Supreme Court collegium for appointment of judges for different HCs,” he said. “What we are working at is that when we end 2018, we will be able to push for the highest number of judges for appointment in different HCs in the last 40 years. That’s what I am aiming at.”
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Prasad also said differences between judges should be left to the “foresight and statesmanship” of the judiciary and it should not be politicised.
“There will be differences among judges. There have been in the past also. But let us trust the foresight and statemanship of the judiciary itself to set those differences aside and resolve them. Political process should never intervene,” he said. “As in the past whenever there were differences, the political office never intervened. The same kind of statemanship and degree of restraint I would expect from my political colleagues across the board.”
“Let us not politicise the differences, because an independent judiciary with qualities of foresight, statemanship and capacity to resolve their differences is also integral to Indian democracy,” he said. “Collusive litigation designed to provoke political debate should be avoided.”
The function was also attended by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Delhi High Court Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal, L-G Anil Baijal and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
On the issue of judicial independence, Kejriwal said the nation was indebted to the judiciary for “reining in” the executive and the legislature whenever executive “strayed from its path”.
“We are completely committed to the integrity and independence of the judiciary,” Kejriwal said. “Certain judgments by Supreme Court in the recent past has re-affirmed the faith of public in judiciary.”
Justice N V Ramana, speaking at the occasion, endorsed the concern over less number of judges in the Delhi HC raised by Justice Mittal recently and said, “We need judges and need to attract talent to the Bar and the Bench.”
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