NEW DELHI: With the memorandum of procedure (MoP) for appointment of judges finally in place, Chief Justice of India J S Khehar said on Monday that appointments to constitutional courts needed to be undertaken on a war footing.
The Supreme Court has been dealing with petitions filed by Lt Col Anil Kabotra and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay for almost a year and the pro ceedings, previously before a bench headed by then CJI T S Thakur, had the imprint of the ugly stalemate over the provisions of MoP with both the executive and the judiciary refusing to budge from their stated positions. The Centre repeatedly returned scores of names recommended by the collegium headed by Justice Thakur.
But after Justice Khehar took over as CJI, things sett led down and the MoP got finalised. “The MoP is clear. Appo intment of judges has to be undertaken on war footing. The high courts are ope rating with almost r half the sanctioned strength of judges. At our level we are doing our best,” said the bench of Justi ces Khehar, D Y Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul.
The two petitions, to which many more were added in the last year given the stinging remarks passed by the SC against the Centre, were disposed of by the SC on Monday . However, it decided to forward certain suggestions made by advocate Anupam Lal Das, appearing for petitioner Kabotra, to a three-judge committee headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
The 24 HCs have a sanctioned strength of 1,079 judges but are operating with 624, leaving more than 40% of the posts vacant.