The Punjab and Haryana high court on Saturday got two more judges added to its strength as chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul administered the oath of office to Harinder Singh Sidhu and Arun Palli as additional judges.
Before elevation, Justice Palli was a designated senior advocate primarily practising in civil matters and Justice Sidhu was additional advocate general in Punjab's advocate general office.
After the oath ceremony at the high court's new auditorium, the chief justice, while speaking to the media, said, "I will make endeavour to fill all vacancies. It is an ongoing process. I have taken some time to understand the system."
When asked about the number of judges' vacancies in the high court, he said, "Still there are 17 vacancies" but as on date physically there are 47 judges against the sanctioned strength of 68. "Technically, the strength is 51 as there are judges who have been appointed here but have been posted elsewhere (later)," he added. He reiterated his commitment to bringing down pendency of cases through effective changes in the system.
Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu
Justice Sidhu, 52, belongs to an Akali political family. A resident of Budhlada in Mansa district, justice Sidhu's father, late Parshotam Singh, remained MLA thrice from the Shiromani Akali Dal. His uncle, late Narotam Singh, served as minister in the first Akali-Congress united Punjab government elected after the Indian provincial elections in 1937.
He did his LLB and LLM from Panjab University, Chandigarh, and started practice in the Punjab and Haryana high court in 1987. Appointed as assistant advocate general in Punjab advocate general's office in 1997, he was functioning as additional advocate general in the same office. He is a humble personality and has vast knowledge of law. The Punjab government used to rely on his legal opinions in important cases.
Justice Arun Palli
Justice Palli, 49, belongs to a renowned family of lawyers. A native of Patiala, justice Palli's great grandfather and grandfather had been practising lawyers. His father, PK Palli, retired as judge from the Himachal Pradesh high court in 1998.
He did his LLB from Panjab University, Chandigarh, before starting his legal practice at the Punjab and Haryana high court. Acknowledged for his strong command over law, he primarily practised in civil cases but also dealt with the cases relating to constitutional and industrial laws. He also remained as additional advocate general in Punjab's advocate general office from 2005 to 2007 and had been a designated senior lawyer for the past seven years.