The Ministry of Law & Justice has released data which shows that there are 6 vacancies in the Supreme Court and 464 vacancies in the High Courts. The vacancies of Judicial Officers in District and Subordinate Courts is about 4998. It is stated that in All India Judges’ Association Case, the Supreme Court had directed, on a comparative assessment of the position in other countries, that there should be 50 judges for a million population in the country. However, presently, the Judge (based on sanctioned strength) : population ratio in the country works out to be 17.72 Judges/Judicial Officers per million population. The steps being taken by the Government to fill the vacancies is also briefly outlined.
A statement showing the approved strength, working strength and vacancies of Judges in the Supreme Court and High Courts as on 29.02.2016 is given at Annexure-I. The number of Judges of Supreme Court and High courts appointed from 1st January, 2015 till 13th April 2015 i.e. the date on which the Constitution(Ninety Ninth Amendment) Act, 2014 and the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, 2014 were brought into force is given at Annexure-II. With the coming into force of these Acts, all appointments of Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts through the Collegium process as laid down in the Memorandum of Procedure were stopped. However, with the revival of the Collegium system, the process of appointment of Judges has resumed. A Statement showing the sanctioned strength, working strength and vacancies of Judicial Officers in District and Subordinate Courts in the country as on 30.06.2015 is given at Annexure-III.
In All India Judges’ Association Case, the Hon’ble Supreme Court in its Judgement dated 21st March, 2002, on a comparative assessment of the position in other countries directed that there should be 50 judges for a million population in the country. Based on the population, as per census 2011 and sanctioned strength of judges in the Supreme Court and High courts as on 29.02.2016, and the sanctioned strength of Judges/Judicial Officers of District and Subordinate Courts as on 31.12.2015, the Judge population ratio in the country works out to be 17.72 Judges/Judicial Officers per million population.
The Supreme Court vide its order dated 16.10.2015 declared that the system of appointment of Judges to Supreme Court, and Chief Justices and Judges of High Court from one High Court to another as existing prior to Constitution (Ninety-Nineth Amendment ) Act, 2014 called the “Collegium System” to be operative. The Supreme Court simultaneously decided to consider introduction of appropriate measures, if any, for an improved working of the “Collegium System”. The Government of India submitted its suggestions subject to its reservation about the correctness of the Judgment. The Government has taken the stand that it reserves its liberty to take such action as it may decide fit. Further, the Parliament has the power within the parameters of the Constitution to govern the criteria and process for appointment of Judges to the Supreme Court and High Courts.
The Supreme Court pronounced its Order on improvement in the “Collegium System” on 16.12.2015. Vide this order they have decided that the Government of India may finalize the existing Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) by supplementing it in consultation with the Chief Justice of India, and based on the unanimous view of the Collegium comprising the four senior-most puisne Judges of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court has indicated broad categories under which existing MoP can be supplemented such as eligibility criteria, transparency in the appointment process, Secretariat and complaints etc. The Department of Justice is in the process of preparing a revised draft Memorandum of Procedure in consultation with the State Governments.
Annexure I – As on 29-02-2016
|Sl. No.||Name of the Court||Approved Strength||Working Strength||Vacancies as per
|A.||Supreme Court of India||31||25||06|
|2||High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad*||46||15||61||16||10||26||30||05||35|
|10||Jammu & Kashmir||13||04||17||08||01||09||05||03||08|
|20||Punjab& Haryana *||64||21||85||37||11||48||27||10||37|
|Sl. No||Name of the Court||Judges appointed from 01.01.2015 till 13.04.2015|
|A.||Supreme Court of India||01|
(Position as on 30.06.2015)
|Sr. No.||Name of State / UT||Total Sanctioned Strength||Total Working Strength||Vacancies|
|2||Andhra Pradesh & Telengana||1034||812||222|
|7||Daman & Diu and Dadra Nagar Haveli||7||6||1|
|13||Jammu and Kashmir||245||217||28|
|33||West Bengal and A & N Islands||994||856||138|