Chief Justice of States to Fill Vacancies in Judiciary: Modi Government

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Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0
Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0

In the past few days, the NDA Government under the Union Law Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad is planning to have reforms in the judicial system. The Government had send intimation to the Chief Justices of 24 states to take immediate steps to fill vacancies in the judiciary. This is the second intimation given within the last four months. The Law Minister also pointed out that presently there exist 22.5 percent vacancies of judges in the subordinate courts. In the High Courts, the vacancy reported is more than 34 percent which is one of the worse conditions ever reported. As detailed, the subordinate courts were permitted total strength of 19518. But the appointments are carried out only 15115 posts. Similarly in High Courts, more than 300 seats of the judges remain vacant. As a consequence, the number of pending litigation and work load of the existing judges have increased.

The Law Minister states that the Government is coming forward to take effective steps to fill the vacancies and on assessment has came to the conclusion that the present strength of the judges does not go parallel with that permitted previously. He also revealed his expectation towards the Chief Justices that they will understand the situation and consider the letter without delay. In the last year, the Government allowed 10 percent and 25 percent enhancement in the permitted strength of the subordinate judges and High Court judges correspondingly. In addition, the Government also authorized to augment the number of Court rooms wherever essential. Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad specified that in the last June, he has provided letters to all the Chief Justices of concerned High Courts and also brought to the notice of the Chief Ministers of that States for the urgent need for the recruitment of judges and to bring into effect the Courts that were already approved so that the Government can achieve its strategy of speedy disposal of the pending cases.

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The Department of Law ascertained the reason for the delay in the appointment of judges by conducting direct enquiry with the High Courts. Thereafter, the Government framed ‘actionable points’ to accelerate the procedures for the recruitment of judges. The Minister was confident enough that the recruitment of judges instantly along with the infrastructures available to the judiciary, the fundamental problem with regard to the pendency of litigation can be resolved.

During the month of May, the Law Minister ascertained the opinion of the High Courts on the reasons for the delay in the recruitment procedures of the subordinate Court judges. Due to the holdup, large number of vacancies exists at different positions. In accordance with the reply from the High Courts, the Government formulated to rationalize the appointments. Further, certain number of High Courts was of the opinion that they lack eligible candidates who pass the written examination conducted by the High Courts to fill up the vacancies in the subordinate courts. For this, the Government recommended to have a discussion with the legal education institutions and to provide proper training to the law students in furtherance of the objective. The Government expressed its interest to provide essential facilities to homogenize the legal education system in India by imparting practical knowledge and awareness to the students who are interested to take up judicial services.

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To achieve the purpose, the Ministry of Law and Justice has presented a suggestion the 14th Finance Commission to allocate 9500 crores so that the Government can joint hands with the judiciary to advance additional court facilities, initiation of fast track courts and other necessary changes for which grants were already provided. Another move is the setting up of 1800 fast track courts, 50 lakhs rupees for every court to have facilities for resolving litigations in friendly manner, more than 400 family courts, witness rooms, waiting rooms, facilities for the physically challenged and such other essentials that are needed with the assistance of the grant received from the Finance Commission.