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Appointment of ad hoc judges

Topics Covered: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

Appointment of ad hoc judges:


Context:

The Supreme Court has agreed that a plan to appoint retired judges on an ad hoc basis to reduce pendency in the High Courts should not become an excuse to stop or further delay the appointment process of regular judges.

Need for:

As on April 1, the High Courts have a total vacancy of 411 regular judges against the sanctioned judicial strength of 1,080. The working strength in the High Courts is 669.

Observations made by the Court:

The Chief Justices of the High Courts should opt for ad hoc judges only if their efforts to fill the judicial vacancies in their respective High Courts have hit a wall, even as pendency has reached the red zone. Ad hoc judges should not be appointed in lieu of regular recommendations.

Need of the hour:

A procedure should be adopted explaining when a Chief Justice can initiate the appointment of an ad hoc judge; what should be the threshold of pendency for such appointments; for how long should such ad hoc judges continue; what should be their allowances, etc.

Constitutional Provisions in this regard:

The appointment of ad-hoc judges was provided for in the Constitution under Article 224A.

Procedure to be followed:

  • Under the Article, the Chief Justice of a High Court for any State may at any time, with the previous consent of the President, request any person who has held the office of judge of that court or of any other High Court to sit and act as a judge of the High Court for that State.
  • Such a judge is entitled to such allowances as the president may determine. He will also enjoy all the jurisdiction, powers and privileges of a judge of the Supreme Court. But, he will not otherwise be deemed to be a judge of the Supreme Court.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Appointment of retired judges.
  2. Related constitutional provisions.
  3. Powers and functions.
  4. Procedure.

Mains Link:

The Supreme Court has pushed for the appointment of retired judges to battle pendency of cases in High Courts. Comment.

Sources: the Hindu.