Bombay HC down to roughly half strength as govt still to clear judges

At present, there are 57 justices serving on the Bombay High Court, or about 60 per cent of its sanctioned strength

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, July 05, 2022, 02:42 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | Wikimedia Commons

The Bombay High Court, which has a sanctioned strength of 96 judges, is currently down to barely over half that amount as at least 26 recommendations for appointment of judges to the Bombay High Court are languishing with the government at different stages of consideration, The Indian Express reported.

At present, there are 57 justices serving on the Bombay High Court, or about 60 per cent of its sanctioned strength.

At the same time, according to the National Judicial Data Grid ( NJDG), there are 5.88 lakh cases pending before the Bombay High Court of which 1.14 lakh fresh cases were filed in the last one year and more than 16,000 criminal cases are pending for more than 10 years.

The Bombay HC has a principal seat in Mumbai and benches in Aurangabad, Nagpur and Goa. Due to inevitable retirements and elevations, the number is likely to fall further.

Judges are appointed by the Collegium system

Judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts are appointed by the President under Articles 124(2) and 217 of the Constitution of India.

According to Article 124(2), “Every Judge of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal after consultation with such Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts in the States as he may deem necessary.

According to Article 217, “Every Judge of a High Court shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, the Governor of the State, and, in the case of appointment of a Judge other than the Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of the High Court.”

The Supreme Court collegium is headed by the Chief Justice of India and comprises four other senior-most judges of the court.

A High Court collegium is led by its Chief Justice and four other senior-most judges of that court.

Names recommended for appointment by a High Court collegium reaches the government only after approval by the CJI and the Supreme Court collegium.

Judges of the higher judiciary are appointed only through the collegium system, and the government has a role only after names have been decided by the collegium.

The same story in the rest of the country

Things are not much better in the rest of the country.

Over 4.7 crore cases are pending in courts across different levels of the judiciary. Of them, 87.4% are pending in subordinate courts, 12.4% in High Courts, while nearly 1,82,000 cases have been pending for over 30 years.

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