Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana today highlighted the issue of high court vacancies and urged the chief justices of all 25 high courts to send names for judge appointments at the earliest.
At the opening of the 39th Chief Justice Conference in Delhi, to be held after a six-year hiatus, the Chief Justice of India outlined the agenda of the meeting, saying that the “purpose and purpose of today’s conference is to resolve the issues discuss and identify implications for the administration of justice”.
He said the meeting would not only take stock of the progress made in implementing the resolutions passed six years ago at the last Chief Justices’ Conference, but would also address issues related to the judiciary ranging from from appointing judges to high courts to strengthening the network and connectivity at all court complexes across the country.
“I’d like to raise the issue of job postings. You may recall that one of my first posts to you was about filling job postings. I also asked all of you, in our very first online interaction, to review the process of recommending names for elevation to high courts, emphasizing social diversity…”
“I request the Chief Justices of the High Courts, who still have a number of vacancies, to forward the names for elevation at the earliest,” the CJI said in its welcome address.
The head of the judiciary greeted the quick response of the chief justices of the high courts in recommending names for the judgeship and said: “Thanks to our concerted efforts, we could fill 126 vacancies in different high courts in less than a year.”
“We expect another 50 appointments. This remarkable achievement could be achieved thanks to your sincere cooperation and dedication to the institution,” he added.
India’s Chief Justice also pointed to the fact that the colleges he led over the past year saw the appointment of nine new Supreme Court judges at once, in addition to ten new Supreme Court Chief Justices, and thanked his colleagues in the colleges for their cooperation.
The Chief Justices Conference would address the issue of strengthening IT infrastructure and connectivity at all court complexes across India as a matter of priority.
The issue of human resources, personnel policy and needs of the district courts will also be discussed at the meeting, which will be attended by two senior Supreme Court justices – Justices Uday Umesh Lalit and AM Khanwilkar.
The meeting will also discuss infrastructure and capacity building, institutionalizing the mechanism for increasing and creating state-of-the-art judicial infrastructure, and institutional and judicial reforms, India’s Chief Justice said.
The crucial issues of appointing Supreme Court justices, their emoluments and increasing their benefits after retirement will also be addressed, Judge Ramana said.
The CJI said it took office during the most devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by the third wave that hit the country in late 2021, and offered its condolences to the families who have lost to the viral illness.
“Yet, thanks to the guts and determination of all of you, we were able to ensure that the functioning of the constitutional courts did not go off the rails. Administratively, it was a major challenge. We had to struggle for colleagues, officers and staff of clerks, lawyers and litigants. We have done our best to promote access to justice,” he said.
Judge Ramana also referred to the introduction of the “innovative FASTER system in the Supreme Court during this period” for passing court orders to prisons and courts across the country.
The CJI urged the Chief Justices of the High Courts to analyze the issues objectively and make constructive suggestions.
“Today’s conclusions and resolutions will form the basis of the deliberations at tomorrow’s joint conference. We will take them up with the government and try to reach a consensus on them,” he said.
The Chief Justices Conference will be followed by the Joint Prime Ministers and Chief Justices Conference in the Vigyan Bhawan here on Saturday, which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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