The Supreme Court on Friday called for "time bound" appointment of judges of the High Court in an expeditious manner by of all those who have to discharge the constitutional obligation in this regard.
"It is,..., in the interest of all the stakeholders, including the judiciary, that definite timelines are drawn for each stage of the process, so that process of appointment is accomplished within a time-bound manner," said the bench of Justice A.K.Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan.
Saying that the time-bound appointment of judges to high courts was necessary to keep alive the hope and aspiration of litigants and commitment to speedy justice, the bench said that the process "needs more expedition at the hands of all who have to discharge the constitutional obligation entrusted by the Constitution ..."
The court said this as it dismissed the petition by a Rajasthan-based lawyer Sunil Samdaria challenging the appointment of two retired district judges as additional judges of the Rajasthan High Court in May 2017.
Referring to 1993 judgment of the top court which had said that the appointment process should commence one month before the vacancy was to occur, Justice Sikri, speaking for the bench, rued:"Unfortunately, it still remains a far cry."
Initiating the process of filling the vacancy oner month before it was to actually occur was done to achieve an "ideal situation" to ensure that the posts are filled up immediately, the court said: "In the first instance, names are not forwarded by the High Court in time."
"What to talk of sending the names one month before the occurrence of an anticipated vacancy, names are not forwarded even much after the vacancy has occurred. .... once the names are forwarded, they remain pending at the executive level for unduly long time, before they are sent to the Collegium of the Supreme Court for approval... Even after the clearance by Collegium, these remain pending at the level of the executive," said the judgment.
"All this results in inordinate delay," the court said.
Equally, the court said that the "members of the Bar, whose names are recommended for elevation to the High Court, undergo hardships of a different kind. It is unjust that the fate of such persons remains in limbo for indefinite periods and gives rise to unnecessary conjectural debates. It leads to unpleasant situations which can be avoided."
The judgment said that the Additional Judges were appointed in the high court to cope with the increased work load of cases in different high courts on account of temporary increase in work load or arrears of cases.