The Supreme Court today sought responses from High Courts across the country on the possibility of appointing ad hoc judges in line with Article 224A of the Constitution (Lok Prahari v. Union of India)..The Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Surya Kant sought the same in a petition filed by NGO Lok Prahari seeking ad hoc appointments in the Supreme Court and the High Courts..CJI Bobde, however, made it clear that regular judicial appointments cannot be stalled for such ad hoc appointments. He observed,"We don't want system of regular appointment to be stalled for ad hoc appointments. But there are suits pending for 30 years which also include criminal trials. It is not a matter of opinion but fact that judges who have been there for 15 to 20 years they can dispose it off.".The CJI went on to suggest that ad hoc judges can be appointed until pendency is brought under control, and that these judges would be considered junior-most so as to not be a threat in terms of seniority.He went on to add,"This (Article 224A) is a constitutional provision and this provision is not being used. We will lay down guidelines stating if pendency goes beyond certain limit for say more than 8 or 10 years, then Chief will automatically recommend the appointment of ad hoc judge. After Collegium approves, they can sit and it (term of ad hoc judges) can be extended. Other factors like accommodation have to be looked into it.".He thus sought suggestions from High Courts on this prospect..Additional Solicitor General RS Suri informed the Court that the Centre's stand was that ad hoc appointments can be made after vacancies for regular posts are filled..CJI Bobde retorted,"We are not sure how much cooperation we are receiving from you regarding that. But ad hoc judges are not a threat.".While counsel for the Allahabad High Court was in complete support of the idea, counsel for the Uttarakhand High Court mirrored the Centre's sentiment..After Senior Advocate R Basant read out Article 224A, Justice Kaul clarified,"Process of appointing a regular judge will have to be followed. We cannot say that High Court Chief Justice can suo motu appoint ad hoc judges."Senior Advocate Vikas Singh disagreed, saying,"224A is non-obstante. 224A carves out a separate scheme. If it has to go through same rigour of appointing regular judges, then the objective is lost.".After seeking replies and suggestions from the Centre and the High Courts, the Court adjourned the matter to April 8.