Representational image | Photo: Mathrubhumi
New Delhi: A Parliamentary panel on Thursday said due to the delays in appointment of judges, a recent "phenomenon" has emerged where many lawyers have refused to become part of the higher judiciary.
It also observed that the judicial system of the country is "plagued with perennial problems of vacancy and pendency", especially at the high court level and "there is no end in sight for these problems".
In its report on Demands for Grants (2022-23) for Department of Justice in Law Ministry, the Parliamentary committee on Law and Personnel said vacancies have a natural fallout on pendency of cases. "The figures regarding vacancies and pendency are staggering. One has to acknowledge that the existing process is not working and it overwhelms us completely, it needs to be re-engineered," the report said.
The Committee said it "fails to understand" that when the date of a vacancy is known the day a judge assumes charge, then why should there be a "huge delay", first in sending recommendations by the collegium, and then its processing by the government.
"The committee has also observed a recent phenomenon that because of delays in appointments, many lawyers have started saying no to such appointments. No respectable lawyer is prepared to wait 'ad infinitum' (indefinitely) and thus there have been spate of refusals by them," it noted.
In a written reply in Rajya Sabha on Thursday, the government said as on March 16, against the sanctioned strength of 1104 judges in the 25 high courts, 699 judges are in position, leaving 405 vacancies.