Twenty-four judges to Allahabad and Calcutta high courts were appointed on Tuesday, a move that will help overcome large scale vacancies in the higher judiciary tackling lakhs of pending cases.
The law ministry issued separate notifications appointing 19 additional judges to the Allahabad High Court and five to the Calcutta High Court.
Additional judges usually have a term of two years and based on their performance are elevated as permanent judges.
These are the first set of fresh appointments to the high court after Justice Dipak Misra took over as Chief Justice of India on August 28.
As on September 1, the Allahabad High Court, with an approved strength of 160 judges is functioning with 91 – a shortage of 69.
The Calcutta High Court has an approved strength of 72 judges, but is working with 31 – a shortage of 41.
Besides the fresh appointments made today, over 61 recommendations by 13 high courts on appointment of new judges and elevation of additional judges are awaiting a final nod by the Supreme Court collegium.
These recommendations include 36 names sent by eight high courts for appointment as judges and 25 names sent by five high courts for elevation of additional judges to permanent judges.
The recommendations were sent to the SC collegium when Justice J S Khehar was the Chief Justice of India. He demitted office on August 27 and Dipak Misra took over as the new CJI the next day.
The eight high courts from where names have been sent for fresh appointments include Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madras, Gujarat and Bombay, the functionary said.
Besides these names, the SC collegium has to take a call on appointing chief justices in six high courts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Calcutta, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Manipur. These high courts are being headed by acting chief justices.
According to law ministry data, as on September 1, while the approved strength of judges in the 24 high courts is 1079, there were 413 vacancies and these high courts were functioning with an effective working strength of 666 judges.