Day 20 Arguments

Judicial Vacancies in the Lower Courts

8 November 2019

The Surpeme Court has taken suo motu cognisance of judicial vacancies in the lower courts. It has appointed four Amicus Curiae to assist it.

  • Shyam Divan, responsible for Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and the North Eastern States
  • K.V. 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

Status report on Karnataka and Kerala

Today, the Bench heard Amicus Curiae K.V. Vishwanathan finish his submissions from yesterday. Amicus Curiae K.V. Vishwanathan began by reporting on the State of Karnataka:

  • He submitted that since the last notification for the recruitment.for District Judges, 9 were selected out of which orders had been issued for 4 candidates order. 5 candidates were still awaiting orders. Another notification for 21 posts issued in October would be processed now. For the promotion quota there were 20 vacancies out of which 5 were appointed on 24.10.2019. For the remaining 15 seats, there were no eligible candidates at present. However, he submitted that candidates will become eligible soon – 88 officers will complete 5 years in January 2020.
  • Civil judge (senior division) – there are 101 vacancies. Promotional process for the same was underway. The Registrar General of the High Court sought time till end of December to complete process.
  • Civil Judge- there are 56 vacancies for which the exam was scheduled to be held on 9th and 10th of December.
  • Infrastructure in Karnataka – Mr. Vishwanathan sought directions to the State Government to release funds for sanction of 62 new courts, appointment of peons and drivers. The SC issued appropriate directions to State Government.

He then apprised the Bench of affairs in the State of Kerala

  • There are 10 District Court vacancies. 5 fall in the direct recruitment category and, incidentally, all fall under the reserved category. The process for recruitment is underway.  The other 5 are in the regular promotion category for which the process has also started. 20 eligible candidates are being considered. The vacancies should be filled by the end of 2019.
  • Sub Divisional magistrates- 2 posts to be filled up by end of January 2020
  • Municipal magistrate – there are 65 vacancies. Out of the 65, 31 had been appointed and were undergoing training. Training to complete by January 31st 2020. Currently, the State is relying on 15 ad-hoc judges.

The next hearing is on Wednesday, November 13th, when the Bench will hear Amicus Curiae Gaurav Agarwal (instead of Amicus Curiae Shyam Divan, as originally scheduled).

(Court reporting by Avinash Amarnath)