Judges’ appointments hang fire

There are only 32 judges against the sanctioned strength of 47 at High Court

Recommendations for appointing as many as 15 judges to the Kerala High Court have been pending for up to one year even as the pendency of cases has touched new records.

The Supreme Court had the other day held that “when the recommendations of the High Court collegium meet with the approval of the Supreme Court collegium and the government, at least their appointments must take place in six months.” The court had further added that this was not to “say that in other cases the process should not be completed within six months.”

There are only 32 judges in the Kerala High Court against the sanctioned strength of 47.

Incidentally, the Centre has asked the Kerala High Court whether the sanctioned strength of the judges needs to be increased considering the pendency of cases.

Though the collegium of the Kerala High Court had recommended the names of six persons in 2018, the government cleared only four, including two senior judicial officers from the lower judiciary.

Four sworn in

The case of one lawyer was turned down by the Centre while the case of another one was kept in abeyance by the Supreme Court collegium. The four were sworn in as judges in November last.

Despite the collegium of the apex court clearing the name of the lawyer that was put on hold and reiterating the recommendation of the other lawyer, who hailed from northern Kerala, the Centre has not cleared both the appointments so far, judicial sources point out.

In another instance, one lawyer was appointed from the list of three which was cleared by the collegium. The Centre is yet to act on the appointment of two. The lawyer whose name was cleared assumed office last month.

In February this year, the names of four lawyers and two senior district judges were cleared by the collegium of the Kerala High Court. The list was likely to come up for the consideration of the Supreme Court collegium shortly.

Cleared in September

Another set of five persons, including two lawyers and three senior district judges, was also cleared by the Kerala collegium in September this year.

The latest figures have put the pendency of the cases at 1.92 lakh. The average disposal rate of the cases of the Kerala High Court judges is being put at around 300 cases a month and the court functions 210 days a year. Any loss of court days is compensated by converting holidays into working days, judicial sources pointed out.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 12:28:17 PM |

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