CJI Ramana-led collegium approves over 250 for HC; Vacancies now lowest since 2016

Author: Yuvi August 16, 2022

 CJI Ramana-led collegium approves over 250 for HC;  Vacancies now lowest since 2016

The Supreme Court collegium, headed by Justice NV Ramana as the Chief Justice of India (CJI), made over 250 recommendations for the appointment of high court judges, helping bring down the vacancies to their lowest level since 2016. .

As of August 1, 25 high courts have 380 vacancies against a sanctioned strength of 1,108 judges, according to data from the Ministry of Law and Justice.

There has been an average vacancy of 418 judges since January 2016. The highest vacancy level at this time was 478 in August 2016.

Justice Ramana, who took charge in April 2021, will step down on August 26. Justice Uday Umesh Lalit will take over as the CJI the next day.

During the tenure of CJI Ramana, the collegium also made recommendations of 11 judges to the Supreme Court. The five-member collegium ended the 22-month stalemate in August 2021 by making nine recommendations to the apex court at once.

Three women — Justices Hima Kohli, BV Nagarathna and Bela Trivedi — are included in this list for the first time. Justice Nagarathna is in line to become the first woman CJI in 2027.

The collegium, headed by Justice Ramana’s predecessor CJI SA Bobde, made recommendations to 109 judges of the High Court during its 17-month tenure. Justice Bobde, who was CJI from November 18, 2019 to April 23, 2021, retired without the recommendation of a single judge of the Supreme Court.

The CJI Ranjan Gogoi-led collegium (his tenure was from October 3, 2018 to November 17, 2019) made 130 recommendations for the High Courts and 14 for the Supreme Court.

The highest number of appointments were approved by the government even during the tenure of CJI Ramana. While the government appointed 266 judges to high courts as CJI during Justice Ramana’s time, only 104 appointments were made when Justice Bobde was the CJI and 107 when Justice Gogoi took over.

The government on Sunday appointed 11 additional judges to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The three-member collegium makes recommendations for the appointment of judges to the High Courts and the five-member collegium makes recommendations to the Supreme Court. The CJI Ramana-led collegium for high court appointments included Justices Lalit (CJI-designated) and AM Khanwilkar, who retired on July 29. The next collegium, headed by Justice Lalit, will also include Justices DY Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul.

The strength of the Supreme Court will be 30 when CJI Ramana retires on August 26. Three more judges, Justices Lalit, Indira Banerjee and Hemant Gupta, are expected to retire this year.

16 August, 2022, 2:20 am

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