|J&K HC at half strength, 396 judge vacancies in India|
EARLY TIMES REPORT
SRINAGAR, Feb 9: With only eight judges in place, the common High Court of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh is currently functioning at more than half of its strength. The High Court has sanctioned strength of 17 Judges including 13 permanent Judges and 4 Additional Judges. However, at present there are only eight Judges including Chief Justice Gita Mittal. The other Judges of the High Court are Justice Rajesh Bindal, Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey, Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur, Justice Tashi Rabstan, Justice Sanjeev Kumar Shukla, Justice Sanjay Kumar Gupta and Justice Sindhu Sharma. Justice Rashid Ali Dar retired on November 15, 2019 taking the number of vacancies to nine. Last month, Union Law Ministry cleared the name of Rajneesh Oswal for appointment as Judge of the High Court. Also, the Supreme Court Collegium had approved the name of Advocate Javed Iqbal Wani and forwarded the same to Union Law Ministry for appointment as High Court Judge. The Jammu and Kashmir High Court is not alone in functioning with lesser number of judges. In fact, according to the details provided in ongoing budget session of the parliament, there are 396 vacancies of Judges in the various High Courts as on 1 February 2020. “Government is committed to filling up of vacancy expeditiously and in time-bound manner,” said Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Law and Justice, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology, in a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha by Ripun Bora, a Congress leader hailing from Assam. However, Prasad said the Chief Justices of High Courts are often not initiating the proposals for filling up vacancies of judges six months prior to the occurrence of vacancies, as stipulated in the Memorandum of Procedure for appointment and transfer of Chief Justices and Judges of High Courts (MoP).