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500 vacancies of High Court judges: CJI; 120 appointed, says government

500 vacancies of High Court judges: CJI; 120 appointed, says government

New Delhi: Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur on Saturday expressed concern over non-filling of vacancies in various courts, saying around 500 posts of High Court judges were lying vacant.

The government, however, said that 120 appointments have been made this year.

"Around 500 vacancies in the High Courts today. Five hundred High Court judges should be working today, but they are not. A large number of proposals are still pending and hope the government will intervene to end this crisis," Justice Thakur said at the All India Conference of Central Administrative Tribunal.

Thakur said due to lack of infrastructure, the posts of chairmen in various tribunals are lying vacant.

"A large number of pending vacancies in the High Courts and various tribunals leads to delay in disposal of cases," he said.

"Tribunals are not equipped and are lying vacant. Today, a situation has arisen that no retired Supreme Court judge wants to head the tribunal. I am pained to send my retired colleagues there," Justice Thakur added.

Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, however, said the Centre had made 120 appointments this year.

"We have the highest regard for the CJI but we respectfully disagree with him. This year, we have made appointments of 120 judges (the second highest up to 2013)," Prasad said.

"Since 1990, there have been only 80 appointments. There are 5,000 vacancies in the lower judiciary, in which the Centre has no role to play. That is something only for the judiciary to take (care of)," said the minister.

On October 28, during a hearing, a bench headed by Justice Thakur slammed the Centre for sitting over the top court collegium's recommendations on the appointment of High Court judges, saying the action amounted to paralysing and locking out the judiciary.

In April, the Chief Justice broke down during a joint conference of Chief Ministers and High Court Chief Justices, and urged the government to improve the infrastructure and fill up vacancies in the courts.

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