During the last one year, the Supreme Court collegium recommended 80 names for appointment as judges of various high courts, out of which 45 judges were appointed and the remaining proposals are under various stages of processing, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday.
Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, in a written reply, said between July 1, 2020 and July 15, 2021, the Supreme Court collegium made 80 recommendations for appointment of judges in various high courts.
Out of these, 45 "recommendees" were appointed by the government as high court judges and the "remaining proposals are under various stages of processing with the government and the SC Collegium", he said.
Filling up of vacancies in the high courts is a continuous, integrated and collaborative process between the Executive and the Judiciary. It requires consultation and approval from various constitutional authorities both at the state and central-level, he noted.
"Hence, the time needed for filling up of vacancies of the judges in the higher judiciary cannot be indicated. While every effort is made to fill up the existing vacancies expeditiously, vacancies of judges in high courts do keep on arising on account of retirement, resignation or elevation of judges and also due to increase in the strength of judges," the minister observed.
India has 25 high courts with a sanctioned strength of 1,098 judges. The latest working strength stands at 645 -- a shortfall of 453 judges.
According to the details shared by the ministry along with Rijiju's written reply, 10 recommendations were made by the SC Collegium for the Madras High Court and as many appointments were notified by the government in the one-year period.
For the Allahabad HC, the collegium recommended 11 names, and seven appointments were notified. In the case of the Delhi HC, two appointments were notified while the collegium had recommended six names.
Eight names were recommended by the SC collegium for the Calcutta High Courts, but no appointment was notified in that one-year period.