Over one-third of judges’ posts lie vacant in 12 high courts. So much for collegiums -Arvind Kumar

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published Published on Oct 28, 2020   modified Modified on Nov 4, 2020


Bihar, one of India’s most populous states, has the highest judges’ vacancy in its high court. That says a lot about India’s ability to render timely justice.

The number of pending cases in India’s higher judiciary and the number of vacancies in the Supreme Court and the high courts have been simultaneously increasing. The number of pending cases, which is directly related to the judge-to-population ratio, is an important tool to understand the justice delivery system in a democracy. So, it becomes pertinent to analyse the current status of vacancy in India’s higher judiciary, in general, and high courts, in particular.

There are many possible causes for the vacancies but the collegium system is especially to blame.

Vacancy of judges in SC and HCs

The Department of Justice under the Ministry of Law and Justice releases monthly statistical data about the vacancies of judges in the Supreme Court and the high courts. The data released on 1 October 2020 reveals that the Supreme Court has a sanctioned strength of 34 judges, out of which four posts are currently vacant. These four vacancies are due to the retirement of Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Deepak Gupta, R. Bhanumathi and Arun Mishra. The Supreme Court collegium responsible for making recommendations for filling these vacancies has not made any since Chief Justice S.A. Bobde took charge in November 2019.

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ThePrint.in, 28 October, 2020, https://theprint.in/opinion/one-third-judges-posts-lie-vacant-in-12-high-courts-so-much-for-collegiums/532266/

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