J. Venkatesan

Warrant of appointment expected soon

Appointments to clear huge backlog

New Delhi: President Pratibha Patil has cleared the names of 14 persons – 11 from the Bar and three District Judges – for appointment as Additional Judges of the Madras High Court. The warrant of appointment is expected in a few days. The 14 persons are: R.S. Ramanathan, B. Rajendran, Raja Elango, D. Hari Parandaman, C.T. Selvam, C.S. Karnan, N. G. Kirubakaran, M.M. Sundresh, T.S. Sivagnanam, M. Duraiswamy, T. Raja (from the Bar); R. Mala, Aruna Jagadeesan and G.M. Akbar Ali (from the subordinate judiciary).

In September 2008, the Centre had issued a notification increasing the strength of Judges in the High Court from 49 to 60 and once these 14 judges assume charge the total strength will go up to 58.

The Centre’s decision to increase the strength of judges was sequel to mounting arrears of about 4.46 lakh cases (4 lakh civil cases and 46,000 criminal cases) pending disposal in the High Court. The near full strength of judges is expected to clear the huge backlog. Out of the total strength of 60 judges, at least one third should be from the subordinate judiciary. However, at present there are only 14 judges who are elevated from the subordinate judiciary and with three new judges their strength will go up to 17. Already, there is a demand for recommending two more district judges to fill the remaining vacancies.

A strict scrutiny of candidates was followed by the then Madras High Court Chief Justice, A.K. Ganguly, and Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan in the selection process. The candidates were sent a 25-point pro forma seeking details on various issues. Based on the replies, indications are two of the new judges will be transferred to other High Courts shortly.

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