Judicial Vacancies Update #1: SC Directs Gujarat to Clear Pending Appointments

Judicial Vacancies in the Lower Courts

Judges: D.Y. Chandrachud CJI, P.S. Narasimha J, J.B. Pardiwala J

Today, a 3-Judge Bench led by CJI D.Y. Chandrachud issued instructions to complete pending judicial appointments and infrastructure projects in the lower courts in Gujarat.


On October 22nd, 2018, a 2-Judge Bench comprising CJI Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S.K. Kaul took suo motu cognisance of the high number of judicial vacancies in the District and Subordinate Courts. 

The Bench appointed four amici curiae to assist the Court in monitoring States: 

  • Shyam Divan, responsible for Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and the North Eastern States
  • KV Vishwanathan, responsible for Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Kerala
  • Vijay Hansaria, responsible for Madhya Pradesh and the High Courts of Madras, Odisha, Patna and Punjab & Haryana
  • Gaurav Agrawal, responsible for Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tripura and Uttarakhand

Senior Advocate K.V. Vishwanathan was appointed as the Amicus Curiae to oversee the process of filling vacancies for the states of  Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Kerala in 2020. 

The Bench issued instructions to the State of Gujarat on three aspects. First, the judicial vacancies in District courts. Second, the judicial vacancies of junior and senior judges in Civil courts. Third, an update on the infrastructure available for these sects of the judiciary. 

Update on Judicial Vacancies of District Judges

  • 25% of the vacancies will be filled through direct recruitment by March 31st 2023. 
  • 10% of the vacancies will be filled through exams. A notification of this will be made on March 21st, 2023.
  • 65% of vacancies will be filled via promotion orders which will likely be completed by March 15th 2023. 

Update on Judicial Vacancies of Junior and Senior Civil Judges

  • Senior Civil Judge vacancies will be filled by February 20th, 2023.
  • Notification for 138 Junior Civil Judges and the vacancies which will occur due to promotions of judges from the junior division to the senior division will be done as soon as the Sr. judicial vacancies are filled. 

Update on Infrastructure

Mr. Vishwanathan informed the court that more than 75 infrastructure proposals were pending to be approved by the State government since 2014. The Bench questioned the Registrar General and Gujarat State Government why this was the case. 

The government of Gujarat gave the following update-

  • 40 proposals will be processed in the budget session this year.
  • 14 proposals had some land issues.
  • 15 proposals were pending before the Road and Building department. 
  • 6 proposals were approved already
  • 1 proposal was already being worked on. 

Order of the Court

The Bench remarked that there was no justified reason for such a delay and ordered the Govt. of Gujarat to resolve all the matters at the earliest. The Bench issued a parental order to resolve the matters quickly and submit a certificate of compliance on both the issues (judicial vacancies and infrastructure proposals) by April 30th, 2023.

The Bench is expected to hear the updates on the states of Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir on February 17th, 2023.