Eleven of the 25 High Courts across the country have at least 40 per cent of the sanctioned strength of judges lying vacant. According to data from the Ministry of Law and Justice, with 62 per cent vacancies as of June 1, the Patna High Court is at the top with just 20 judges against the sanctioned strength of 53. The Calcutta High Court ranks second with over 56 per cent vacancies – it has 31 judges against a sanctioned strength of 72. Madhya Pradesh (24 judges against the sanctioned strength of 53) and Rajasthan High Court (23 judges against the sanctioned strength of 53 judges, both 50) have 54 per cent vacancies. In Andhra Pradesh, there are 19 judges against the sanctioned strength of 37 (over 48 per cent vacancies), while Delhi has 31 judges against the sanctioned strength of 60 (over 48 per cent vacancies). In other High Courts, Those who have reported more than 40 percent vacancies: Gujarat, Orissa and Punjab and Haryana (all 44 percent), Telangana (41 percent), and Jharkhand (40 percent). In all, out of the sanctioned strength of 1,080 judges in 25 high courts, 430 posts are yet to be filled. Only three High Courts – Manipur, Meghalaya and Sikkim, which have sanctioned strength of 5, 4 and 3 judges respectively – are functioning at full strength.
While the Supreme Court currently has seven vacancies, Justice Rohinton Nariman is due to retire on August 12. After Chief Justice of India NV Ramana assumed office on April 24, only seven recommendations have been made for appointment as High Court judges – all involving judicial officers. On May 4, the collegium recommended elevation of one judicial officer as a judge of the Gauhati High Court and six judicial officers as judges of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. The government has made only one appointment in the last month – advocate Vikas Bahl was appointed as an additional judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on May 21. For the appointment of High Court judges, the three-member collegium consists of CJI Ramana, Justice Rohinton Nariman and Justice Rohinton Nariman. UU Lalit.
Apart from these three, the five-member collegium to appoint Supreme Court judges includes Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud. During the tenure of former Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, the collegium faced a deadlock over appointments and failed to make a single recommendation for appointment to the Supreme Court. This was expected to change after the formation of the new collegium in April. With access to courts being restricted due to the pandemic, cases piled up at record levels last year. According to the National Judicial Data Grid, a government platform that monitors judicial data, the backlog of cases in 25 high courts quadrupled to 20.4 per cent in 2019-2020 from 5.29 per cent in 2018-2019. .