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High Court Lashes Out At Centre Over Delay In Appointments Of Judges High Court Lashes Out At Centre Over Delay In Appointments Of Judges

Jul-17-2017 | 0 Comments


Kolkata:  The Calcutta High Court has criticised the centre over alleged delay in appointment of judges, while asking whether the nation could think of the parliament functioning with half its strength. "Immediate action is called for to appoint maximum number of judges to prevent the justice delivery system from collapsing, which seems to be imminent," a division bench of Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice DP Dey said.

The bench said the functional strength of judges in the Calcutta High Court was 34, while the sanctioned strength was 72. "The present functional strength is, therefore, a little less than 50 per cent of the sanctioned strength," it said.

The court asked the union law minister to intervene and give top priority to appointing judges in the Calcutta High Court.

"The politeness of this bench may not be understood as weakness on its part to be firm. It is made clear that continued silence of the central government in the matter of appointment of judges in the near future, despite the concerns expressed in this order, would certainly be viewed seriously as interference in the course of administration of justice and followed by appropriate action as authorised in law," the court said.

The Calcutta High Court is the country's oldest high court. "The bar and the litigant public have been tolerant so long, but this bench cannot remain a silent spectator waiting for the inevitable ire to explode," the court said.

The court's observations came after it could not hear an anticipatory bail plea more than a month after it was filed on June 5. The petitioner was arrested on July 6 and the plea was junked by the bench on July 12 as infructuous.

The bench said that by February 2018, 10 judges of the Calcutta High Court will retire, cutting the strength to 24 if no fresh appointment is made by that time.

"Working at less than 50 per cent strength, disposal of proceedings in this court have been quite high in the sense that it is comparable with disposals of high courts functioning with greater strength of judges," the bench said.

"Nonetheless, it cannot to be doubted that whatever is being achieved is far below the expectations of the litigants," it said. "Can the nation think of the Lok Sabha in a functional state with half of its elected members? Similarly, can legislative assemblies function at half-strength? The answer cannot be in the affirmative," the bench said.

"The Lok Sabha and/or the legislative assemblies are important constitutional entities and it would be a disgrace for the largest democracy of the world if elections were not conducted on time," it said.

The court said the centre wastes no time in filling up vacancies in bureaucratic posts. "This bench is thus left to wonder as to why only in respect of filling up of vacancies in the high courts, which are also high constitutional authorities, there is such a brazen apathy and indifference of the political executive," the court said.

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