Special Bench of Supreme Court led by CJI SA Bobde to hear a plea filed by NGO Lok Prahari seeking appointment of Additional Judges to High Courts under Article 128 of the Constitution
CJI: Mr Suri, What is the progress ?

ASG Suri: stand of centre is not adversarial

CJI: Can you show any provision to prove that ad Hoc judges cannot be appointed till regular vacancies are filled in?

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul: is there anything to show that whether Article 224A was resoeted to while judicial regular vacancies were remaining

ASG Suri: if regular appointments are made and it's full then ad Hoc judges may not be required.
Justice Kaul: Ad Hoc judges is something which chief Justice though that may help High courts while regular vacancies are being filled. This is so that that delay does not take place

Suri: various steps have to be taken while ad Hoc has to be appointed
Suri: These are the steps:

1. CJ of HC with consent of president request any person who has been a judge of that HC, then the CJ of that court can appoint such retired such and communicate it to the CM. The CM in consultation with Union of Ministers send the name to Centre
CJI: your voice is breaking. Please furnish this on a affidavit without fail

Suri: it's ready. We will file it

Senior Adv Datar: Para 24 of Memorandum of Procedure deals with appointment of ad Hoc judges. For Ad Hoc judges it should not be the same process of regular judge
CJI: no file can reach President until it goes through Ministry and the ministery will receive recommendations from SC collegium. The process can be simplified but no other way can be appointed.
Datar: If someone is appointed as ad Hoc judge judge for one or two years then they don't have to go through the entire rigmarole.

CJI: we understand the importance of collegium. The Ministry employs the IB to check the antecedents. That purpose doesn't require scrutiny by min
CJI: character and suitability is what is looked into. I agree that he has already served as judge. But his continued fitness has to be judged and someone needs to look into this. How can without this President give his assent.
CJI: salaries and allowances can be from consolidated fund of India. Then no burden on State or Central exchequer. Their salaries like other judges will also come from consolidated fund from India.
CJI: question is not of salary but allowances. That president will only look into.

Senior Adv Ravindra Srivastava: High Court of MP is in favour of referring to Article 224A and appoint ad Hoc judges. Especially during mounting pedency.
Srivastava: there is no concept of salary but President will only look into allowances. He has only be asked to address an emergent situations.
CJI: We want to lay down the circumstances in which ad Hoc judges appointment has to be initiated. If the pendeny in a HC of a specific branch like criminal appeal etc increases beyond a certain point then they can be appointed.
CJI: The average rate of disposal needs to be scientifically ascertained. when the pendency falls below the average rate then ad Hoc judges can be appointed.
CJI: current matters can go before regular benches and very old matters can go before ad Hoc judges.
CJI: pendency needs to be examined. If the area goes into red then ad Hoc judges can be appointed. This pendency need to be looked at branch wise or subject wise. Once we have the bench mark the process needs to be figured out. Panel of former judges can be drawn up
CJI: tenure of the ad Hoc judges will be dependent on the rate of disposal. Criminal appeals, death sentences, second appeal with evidences take longer. Rate of disposal is accordingly determined. Thus he can be in that case appointed for longer tenure.
CJI: there is a natural deadline deadline for this case. If you furnish the affidavit by next Wednesday. We can wrap up hearing on Thursday and pass orders.
Senior Adv R Basant: Remedy cannot be worse than the malady. These calculations will be very cumbersome. Disposal and filings will take time. Pendency could be just gauged whether its falling below five or ten percent. It can be a trigger
CJI: a court may not have vacancies but the pendency is a lot. Then should not the Chief Justice appoint ad Hoc judges there?

Basant: They can. But under Article 224A there is no concept of ad Hoc judges. 224A was there originally as 224 and then ad Hoc judges was removed
CJI: If number of vacancies fall below a certain percentage and when pendency increases then CJ should appoint ad Hoc judges. The process will not be rigid

Basant: will it not be incorrect to curtail the decision making power of the Chief Justice?
CJI: please don't make vague statements. How are we curtailing the discretion?

Basant: it is not intended at all under Article 224A. The discretion is entirely with the Chief Justice of HC. To involve Centre, etc was not the aim of 224A at all.
Senior Adv Vikas Singh: after retiring judges get into arbitration etc so how can ad Hoc judges accept appointment without allowance. Secondly Chief Justice can only suggest ad Hoc judges name after making recommendation for all the vacancies.
CJI: Yea this is to say we will not stop recommending regular judges.

Singh: SC collegium definitely has to be kept in loop
CJI: Yes we agree.
CJI: discretion of the Chief Justice of the High Court has to be respected. There may be hundreds of cases on a single point of law and they can be disposed off by deciding any one case.
CJI: in the next case some names are pending after collegium recommended them. Please let us know the status (to ASG Suri)

Lawyer: Attorney General had circulated a letter for adjournment
Matter to be heard next Thursday

CJI: we will hear this case next Thursday. Bye Bye


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