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The Law Ministry has notified the appointment of four additional judges and a permanent Chief Justice for the Calcutta High Court.
By the notification issued on Friday, the following judges have now been appointed for a period of two years with effect from the date they assume charge of their offices i.e., Biswajit Basu, Amrita Sinha, Abhijit Gangopadhyay and Jay Sengupta.
Following the High Court’s recommendation that they be elevated, all four names were endorsed by the Supreme Court Collegium last month. With their appointment, the strength of the Court rises to 37 as against the sanctioned strength of 72.
A second notification has intimated that Acting Chief Justice Jyotirmay Bhattacharya will take charge as the next Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court, with effect from the date he assumes charge of his office. Justice Bhattacharya was recommended for the post by the Collegium last February.
Justice Bhattacharya was recommended for appointment as the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court, despite it being his parent High Court. While conscious of this fact, the Collegium had made the recommendation by invoking the provision in the Memorandum of Procedure which provides for elevation of a puisne Judge as Chief Justice in his own High Court if he has one year or less to retire.
The appointments follow protest raised by various stakeholders on the issue of burgeoning vacancies as well as the absence of a permanent Chief Justice in the High Court. Whereas, three judges were appointed by the government last month, more recently the Youth Bar Association of India took to the Supreme Court to address this issue.