The Centre’s delay, for months and years on end, to act on the recommendations of the Collegium and appoint judges to High Courts has affected the early adjudication of important cases, especially high-stake commercial issues, the Supreme Court lashed out in an order on Monday.
“The Delhi High Court will be with less than 50% judges in a week’s time, having only 29 judges out of a strength of 60 judges... Two decades back when one of us [Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul] was appointed as a judge, it was as the 32nd judge of the Court whereas the strength was 33 judges,” a Bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy noted in the order.
The government’s “recalcitrant attitude” has left the High Courts with skeletal judicial strength. The government has ignored the timeline set by the Supreme Court to decide on the Collegium recommendations.
“The recommendations take months and years to reach the Collegium and thereafter months and years no decisions are taken post the Collegium. The judicial institution of the High Courts is manned by a number of judges where it will become almost impossible to have an early adjudication even on important issues,” the Supreme Court said.
“If there is some element of loss being caused by the inability of the judicial institution to take up matters, this is a direct consequence of there being inadequate number of judges,” the apex court said.
The court said the government “must realise” that adequate number of judges is a ‘necessity’ for early adjudication of commercial disputes.
The order was passed in an appeal involving government investigation arising from anti-dumping proceedings.