The hearing in the case related to the Central Selection mechanism for the judiciary and the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) witnessed a brief but very interesting dialogue between Senior Advocate Arvind Datar and Chief Justice of India JS Khehar.
As the hearing in the case was drawing to a close, Datar who is the Amicus Curiae in the case, requested the Chief Justice to pass some directions on the MoP, which is yet to be finalised. He said,
“Kindly pass some directions on Memorandum of Procedure since there are lot of vacancies in High Courts.”
Seated beside Datar was Supreme Court Bar Association President RS Suri and Secretary Gaurav Bhatia, who were also party to the request.
Justice Khehar looked at his brother judges and said, smilingly,
“The best answer is a broad smile.”
The MoP, which lays down the process for appointment of judges to high courts and the Supreme Court, was to be drafted and finalised by the Centre in accordance with the directions issued by the apex court in 2015.
However, the Central government is yet to finalise the same, with vacancies burgeoning in various High Courts. As of this month, there a total of 414 vacancies across the 24 high courts in the country. The High Courts of Allahabad and Karnataka are currently functioning at less than half their sanctioned strength.