Thursday, June 20, 2024
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Two High Court appointments, 100s of vacancies !

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NEW DELHI:The appointments of two Additional Judges by President Pratibha Patil were announced Friday evening– with close to 300 High Court judgeships vacant and 32 million cases pending nationwide.

The appointees: Subhasis Talapatra, as Additional Judge of the Gauhati High Court for a two year term, and Ghulam Hasnain Massodi, as Additional Judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court for a year from November 13, 2011.The Jammu and Kashmir High Court, as per its website, has seven of its 14 judgeships vacant, while the Gauhati High Court has four of 24 posts vacant.

The vacancy rate for India’s 21 High Courts is 32.51 per cent– 291 of 895 sanctioned judgeships– as reported by the Department of Justice nine months ago.

Even in district and subordinate courts 3,170 of 17,151 sanctioned judicial posts were reported vacant by the Justice Department a year ago.

Although Department figures published periodically by the Supreme Court have not been updated, knowledgeable sources say vacancy levels remain high, especially considering the mounting pendency in courts and an apparently sharp decline in deterrence.

In absence of a comprehensive study of deterrence level by India’s legal scholarship, critics point to the perception of increasing crime and lawlessness to infer that it is abysmally low.Judicial vacancies have been a cause of serious concern in a nation with rampant corruption and serious discipline issues compounded by court delays fuelled in turn by mounting pendency.

Indian courts have an estimated 32.23 million cases pending, the Justice Department reported in the last quarter of 2010– up from 32.12 million cases it reported in the 3rd quarter and 31.54 million cases in the 2nd quarter.

The figures reflect unresolved wrongs, injustices and conflicts Indians live with. They also provide a perspective on vacancies, not to mention the state of law and justice !Guidelines suggested by an Administrative Reforms Commission ”so that sentencing across the country for similar offences becomes broadly uniform” have yet to take effect.Oddly, even where certain laws provide for imprisonment, few are so sentenced or suffer incarceration, undermining the role of deterrence in Indian jurisprudence.(UNI)

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