The three-member Supreme Court Collegium headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana last week recommended to the Union government names of 68 persons for appointment as judges in 12 high courts, most of which are hamstrung by 50% vacancies in judge posts even while struggling to deal with a heavy pendency.
The collegium comprising CJI Ramana and Justices U U Lalit and A M Kahnwilkar considered 113 names after intense deliberations spanning several days and found 68 suitable for being recommended for appointment to High Courts of Allahabad, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab and Haryana, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Assam.
The significance of recommending 68 names at one go can be gauged from the strenuousness characterising the exercise, which included scrutinising the antecedents of the candidates in the zone of consideration, their income and reputation and their attitudinal suitability for holding the constitutional posts. In contrast, from January to April this year, the collegium headed by then CJI S A Bobde and comprising Justices N V Ramana and R F Nariman in six different meetings could recommend names of only 46 persons for appointment as judges to nine HCs.
Of the 68 names recommended by the collegium for appointment as HC judges, 44 are advocates and 24 are senior judicial officers in the district judge rank. The collegium has deferred consideration of 16 names awaiting further information on certain issues peculiar to each of them from the government or other authorities.