Can’t have more judges due to courtroom shortage, Delhi High Court told

New Delhi, Jan 22: Paucity of court rooms in Delhi’s six district court complexes is the cause of vacant positions of judges, the Delhi High Court was informed by its administrative officials Wednesday.

A division bench headed by Justice Sanjeev Khanna was told by a counsel appearing for the high court’s administrative department that the vacant posts of judges required in judicial service can not be filled due to “infrastructure problem”, including room crunch in the six court complexes.

As per data available Aug 5, 2013, only 22 courtrooms are available for judges in district courts.

The court was hearing a plea filed by advocate R.K. Kapoor, who argued the state judicial service has violated the fundamental and constitutional rights of six people including Salil Maheshwari who were selected in the judicial service but not considered for appointments.

“The qualified candidates are entitled to be considered for appointments against the vacancies existing in the lower judiciary. The general public has suffered on account of pendency of thousands of cases in the subordinate courts,” he said.

The court Wednesday reserved its order on the issue after both of the parties completed their argument.

The petition said that an advertisement was published in 2009 for recruitment of 50 judges in the judicial service, whereas 100 posts were vacant that time.

“A large number of vacancies are existing in the lower judiciary and in view of the law laid down by the Supreme Court and in view of the provisions of articles 141 and 144, the qualified candidates are entitled to be considered for appointments against vacancies existing in the lower judiciary,” Kapoor argued.

Only 32 candidates were shortlisted against the recruitment of 50 posts, he said.

“The Delhi High Court is bound to fill up at least 50 notified vacancies and these six candidates who were on merit list should be appointed in the judiciary,” Kapoor told the court.

However, the high court’s administrative department, agreeing that it is bound to fill up at least 50 notified vacancies, said for this it selected 23 candidates from the general category while the remaining vacancies (27) pertain to reserved category, which cannot be filled by general candidates. Nine reserved category candidates were selected for the posts, it said.

The selected judges are undergoing training and will take the charge likely by May 2014.