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CJI slams Centre, says courts lying vacant without judges; government denies claims

By Newsd
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Just after Chief Justice of India TS Thakur slammed  the Centre over the huge vacancies of judges in the higher judiciary, Union law and justice minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said he “respectfully” disagrees with the claims made by CJI.

Contrary to Thakur’s remark that “The government is not ready to provide proper facilities, vacancy apart from infrastructure is a major concern for tribunal,” Prasad on Saturday said that the government has so far appointed 120 high court judges, adding that this is the second highest number of appointments in the history of the country’s judicial system.

“We have got the highest regard for the CJI, but we respectfully disagree with him. This year we have made 120 appointments. This is the second highest after 121 were appointed in 2013. Since 1990 there had only been 80 appointments,” Prasad said to the media later.

The CJI expressed distress at the government’s attitude to judicial appointments. He said that the judiciary was not against the formation of Tribunals. In fact, it would ease court duties, but the difficulty arises from the lack of adequate infrastructure provided to the Tribunals.

“Tribunals are not equipped and are lying empty. Today a situation has come that when no retired Supreme Court judge wants to head the Tribunal. I am pained to send my retired colleagues there. Government is not ready to give proper facilities. Vacancy apart from infrastructure is a major concern for the Tribunal,” added Thakur.

Ever since the Supreme Court struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act that was brought to end collegium system, the Centre and the Apex court have been at war.

The Centre had conveyed to the SC earlier that it had returned to the collegium or its reconsideration of 43 of the 77 names recommended for the appointment of judges in different High Courts. The remaining 34 have been appointed as judges.

But, on October 28, the apex court had lashed out at the government for failing to appoint judges in various High Courts regardless of the collegium clearing the names over nine months ago.

“Today we have a situation where courtrooms are locked because there are no judges. For example, Karnataka where one floor is shut. Why don’t you lock the courts and lock out justice? Executive inaction is decimating the institution,” the CJI had said.