'2nd highest vacancy of judges at Calcutta HC'
The Allahabad High Court tops the list with 66 vacancies while the Calcutta High Court has a vacancy of 41 judges
The Calcutta High Court has the second highest vacancy of judges in the country, a statement from Union Ministry of Law and Justice has said. Not only that, there has been no permanent Chief Justice in the Calcutta High Court since April this year.
The Allahabad High Court tops the list with 66 vacancies while the Calcutta High Court has a vacancy of 41 judges.
The statement issued by the Ministry said that there are altogether 453 vacancies across the country. Calcutta High Court has a sanctioned strength of 71 positions but only 31 judges 'are in position'. On the other hand, Allahabad High Court has a sanctioned strength of 160 judges where 94 judges are functional while 66 positions are still to be filled.
Among the vacancies in Calcutta High Court, 25 are for permanent judges and 16 for additional judges.
If we go by percentage, Calcutta High Court has a vacancy of 57.4 per cent while Allahabad High Court has a vacancy of 48.2 per cent. Even the Bombay High Court, which has a sanctioned strength of 94 judges, has a vacancy list of 31 judges, the Delhi High Court of 30 judges, Punjab and Haryana High Court of 39 judges and Patna High Court has a vacancy of 33 judges.
"The situation of Calcutta High Court is the worst. There are no judges and naturally important cases are lying pending for months. There is no permanent chief justice. Calcutta High Court is one of the most important courts in the country and this kind of a situation cannot prevail for long," a senior advocate of the High Court said.
Despite this condition Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju did not make any comment on the recruitment in the High Court. Answering a question in the Rajya Sabha, Rijiju said, "Filling up for vacancies in the high courts is a continuous, integrated and collaborative process between the executive and judiciary. It requires consultation and approval from various constitutional authorities both at the state and central level."
The Union Law Minister also said that while attempts to fill up the posts were being made "expeditiously", these vacancies also keep arising due to "retirement, resignation, or elevation of judges and due to increase in the strength of judges".
While one Calcutta High Court judge is set to retire this year, the next retirements are in 2023. In April 2020, five judges of the high court were transferred. Three among them took charge as the chief justices of Bombay, Madras and Meghalaya high courts. The Calcutta High Court now has two additional judges.