Process of appointing HCs judges be expedited: SC
New Delhi: The process of appointing High Court judges needs to be done expeditiously by those entrusted with this obligation to keep the hopes of litigants alive and provide speedy justice, the Supreme Court said on Friday.
The observation by a bench comprising Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan came in the wake of delays taking place at different stages -- from forwarding of names by the respective High Court Chief Justices, waiting for inputs from the executive, clearance from the apex court collegium and the final nod from the executive.
The apex court said this "inordinate delay", sometimes for more than a year, adversely affects the tenure of the judicial officers of the subordinate judiciary who are recommended for elevation to the High Courts.
It said that members of the Bar, recommended for elevation to the High Courts, were equally affected and it was "unjust that fate of such persons remains in limbo for indefinite periods and gives rise to unnecessary conjectural debates".
"It is, therefore, in the interest of all the stakeholders, including the judiciary, that definite time lines are drawn for each stage of the process, so that process of appointment is accomplished within a time bound manner. We need not say more," the bench said.
"It is more so to keep hope and aspiration of litigants alive and to fulfil the commitment of providing a speedy justice the process of appointment of judges of the High Court needs more expedition at the hands of all who have to discharge the constitutional obligation entrusted by the Constitution of India," the apex court also said.
The observations by the bench came while dismissing a PIL challenging the elevation of two Rajasthan Judicial Service officials as Additional Judges of the Rajasthan High Court.
The apex court rejected the petitioner's contention that since the appointments of the two judges was made for a period of less than two years, it violated Article 224 of the Constitution which provides for appointment of additional and acting judges of the High Courts. It also rejected the argument of the petitioner that the two judges were elevated after attaining the age of superannuation of 60 years, saying that the Constitutional provision did not make it mandatory that the appointee in question should be holding a judicial office at the time when the notification of appointment was issued.