As on June 30, while the total sanctioned strength was 21,303, the subordinate courts were functioning with 16,192 judicial officers -- a shortage of 5,111. (Photo: Representational Image)
New Delhi: On a day the Supreme Court rapped the government over delay in appointments to higher judiciary, the Centre said while it's keen to appoint new judges, there is also a need to expedite the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) pending before the collegium for the past two months.
"The government is keen to expedite appointment of judges and as explained in the court, 86 fresh appointments have been made in the high courts. 121 additional judges have been made permanent, 14 chief justices have been appointed and four chief justices transferred," a source said.
The sources said 18 additional judges have been given extension and four judges to the apex court were also appointed. Besides, 33 judges of high courts have also been transferred.
They pointed out that there is also a judicial direction to finalise the MoP, a document to guide appointment of Supreme Court and High Court judges to make collegium more transparent and objective and to make the zone of consultation wider.
The direction was given because the existing system was found to be flawed.
The MoP, as per the direction of the apex court, should be finalised by the Chief Justice of India with a unanimous view of the fellow members of the collegium.
"The government's view is pending before the SC for two months now. That also needs to be expedited now," they said.
While the focus is on shortage of judges in the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts, the situation in the subordinate courts, considered the backbone of justice delivery system, is even worse.
Latest data show there is a shortage of 5,111 judicial officers who run subordinate courts across the country.
As on June 30, while the total sanctioned strength was 21,303, the subordinate courts were functioning with 16,192 judicial officers -- a shortage of 5,111.
In most of the big states, the selection of judicial officers is done by the high courts.
In 11 states the recruitment of subordinate judiciary is done by the high courts, while in 17 states it is done by the state public service commissions.
The 24 high courts face a shortage of nearly 450 judges. Nearly three crore cases are pending in courts across India.