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CJI: MoP to boost filling up of judicial vacancies
Signaling a thaw, the Chief Justice of India on Monday ended monitoring of a PIL to appoint judges after it assured the petitioner that filling up of judicial vacancies was on a “warpath” with the clearing of the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) by the collegium.
With the MoP being tossed by the Centre as the bone of contention for processing names forwarded by the collegium, the PIL had witnessed ugly scenes of conflict between the Centre and Court on previous occasions in the past with the former CJI TS Thakur even threatening to summon the officials of the Prime Minister’s Office for sitting over the recommendations.
But with news coming in that the collegium had settled all contentious issues about the national security clause and setting up of Secretariat at SC and all High Courts, Monday’s hearing was only a formality as it was clear that with the MoP in place, Centre had agreed to process all recommendations of the collegium.
The bench of Chief Justice JS Khehar, Justices DY Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said, “Filling up of vacancies is on a warpath. At our level we are trying very hard to fill all vacancies. With the MoP being cleared, we will achieve full strength.”
The PIL filed by one Anil Kabotra and Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay also demanded the Court to consider increasing the existing strength of judges in High Courts. But the Bench said that stage will only arise after the existing vacancies were filled up. The Court allowed the petitioners to approach the Court on this aspect at the appropriate time.
Kabotra’s petition even listed some 17 suggestions to the Court for speeding up administration of justice mechanism. This included increasing the age of superannuation of judges, introducing plea bargain, conciliation and mediation efforts effectively, ensuring a pre-deposit for hearing commercial litigation filed between corporate players, and awarding points to trial judges for speedy disposal at every stage during the hearing of the case. The Court allowed the suggestions to be sent to a Committee of Supreme Court judges which is holding consultations with Chief Justices of all High Courts to improve disposal rate of cases.
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