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Govt notifies appointment of 23 permanent judges in three HCs

The move comes on the heels of the government appointing three new additional judges to the Calcutta high court and notifying 17 additional judges in Madhya Pradesh as permanent on March 7.

india Updated: Mar 09, 2018 23:52 IST
Jatin Gandhi
Jatin Gandhi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
High Court,Govt,HCs
Before Calcutta, five additional judges were appointed to the Karnataka high court in February.(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The law ministry notified the appointment of 23 permanent judges in the Gujarat, Rajasthan and Bombay high courts on Friday evening.

These come on the heels of the government appointing three new additional judges to the Calcutta high court and notifying 17 additional judges in Madhya Pradesh as permanent on March 7.

Experts however, said these seemingly large-scale exercises mask the fact that only emergency appointments are being made to the higher judiciary. Just eight new judges have been appointed so far this year.

Before Calcutta, five additional judges were appointed to the Karnataka high court in February. In both cases, lawyers went on strike demanding that the government appoint judges already recommended by the Supreme Court collegium.

While the lawyers in Karnataka withdrew their relay hunger strike after the new appointments were made on February 9, their counterparts in the Calcutta high court refused to end their agitation even after Wednesday’s development.

“Three judges are just not sufficient. The collegium had sent 13 names (for consideration),” said Uttam Kumar Majumder, president of the Calcutta high court Bar Association.

Congress leader Brijesh Kallappa said Karnataka chief minister Siddharamaiah had also sought the appointment of more judges from the Union law minister last month. The Calcutta high court has 39 vacancies against 72 judicial posts while its Karnataka counterpart has 32 vacancies against 62 positions. An official said the apex court collegiums had restricted its recommendations for making additional judges permanent in a February 22 meeting. It is believed that things will only get worse with the

government unable to agree with the collegium on a new memorandum of procedure for appointing judges. “This might continue till a change of guard in the SC. We are headed for a medium-term standoff,” said Sumathi Chandrashekharan, judicial reforms expert at the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.

First Published: Mar 09, 2018 23:51 IST