Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal on Friday informed the Lok Sabha that of the 604 judges appointed since 2018 to various High Courts, 454 belong to general category.
Mr. Meghwal’s written answer was in response to a question by Lok Sabha member and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader, Asaduddin Owaisi, who asked if “79% of the High Court judges appointed since 2018 belonged to upper castes”.
The Minister also informed the member that judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts are appointed under Articles 124, 217 and 224 of the Constitution of India, that do not provide for reservation for any caste or class.
However, he said, the government has been requesting the Chief Justices of High Courts to ensure social diversity by considering suitable candidates from Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST), Other Backward Classes (OBC), minorities and women.
Mr. Meghwal gave a break-up of the social background of the judges on the basis of an annexure that they are supposed to fill at the time of recommendation.
“As per information provided by the recommendees, out of 604 High Court Judges appointed since 2018 till 17.07.2023, 458 Judges belong to the General Category….,” the Minister replied. Though Mr. Meghwal didn’t give a percentage, it works out over 75 % of the appointees.
The Minister noted that 18 judges belong to the SC category, nine are from the ST category, 72 from OBC category, 34 from Minority category and for the remaining 13 judges, there is no information available in the annexures filled by them.
“As per the Memorandum of Procedure for appointment of Judges in the Supreme Court and High Courts, the government appoints only those persons who are recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium,” Mr. Meghwal added.
In another written answer, the Law Minister told the Lok Sabha that the Supreme Court has disposed of nearly 26,000 cases so far this year while the 25 High Courts have settled over 5.23 lakh cases.