Govt yet to receive recommendations by HC collegiums for 216 vacancies of judges: Rijiju

New Delhi, Mar 16 (PTI) Against 334 vacancies in various high courts, 118 recommendations made by HC collegiums are at various stages of processing, while the government is yet to receive recommendations for 216 vacancies of judges, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday.

In a written reply, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said as on March 10, there was no vacancy in the Supreme Court. In the 25 HCs, against the sanctioned strength of 1,114 judges, 780 judges were working — a shortfall of 334.

“Presently, there are a total of 118 proposals recommended by High Court
Collegiums which are at various stages of processing. The recommendations against 216 vacancies in the high courts are yet to be received from the High Court Collegiums,” he said.

While filling up of vacancies in the high courts is a continuous, integrated and collaborative process requiring consultation and approval from various constitutional authorities, vacancies keep on arising on account of retirement, resignation or elevation of judges to the apex court, the minister noted.

The government, he said, is committed to filling up of vacancy expeditiously in time-bound manner.

Rijiju said the government has been requesting high court chief justices that while sending proposals for appointment, due consideration be given to suitable candidates belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, minorities
and women to ensure “social diversity” in the appointment of HC judges.

The minister reiterated that all transfers are to be made in public interest — for promoting better administration of justice throughout the country. No timeline has been prescribed in the memorandum of procedure (MoP) for transfer of judges from one high court to another.

The MoP is a set of documents which guide the transfer, elevation and appointment of Supreme Court and HC judges.

As per the MoP, the high court collegiums send the recommendations to the Department of Justice in the Law Ministry. The department then sends the recommendations to the SC collegium with IB reports about the candidates for making final recommendation to the Central government.