The Central government has received names of 18 retired judges for appointment to four High Courts, reports PTI.
The names have been received from the High Courts of Andhra Pradesh & Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Allahabad and Calcutta, and are “under process”, as per the report.
In November, the Union Law Ministry had approved the proposal to re-appoint retired High Court judges to deal with mounting arrears. The proposal was first discussed and endorsed at the conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices held in April this year, but the approval of the Law Minister had not come through.
Former Law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda had raised objections to the minutes prepared by the Supreme Court as it contained some aspects on which there was no consensus at the conference.
The power to re-appoint retired High Court judges is derived from Article 224-A of the Constitution, which reads as follows:
224-A. Appointment of retired judges at sittings of High Courts.-Notwithstanding anything in this Chapter, the Chief Justice of a High Court for any State may at any time, with the previous consent of the President, request any person who has held the office of a Judge of that Court or of any other High Court to sit and act as a Judge of the High Court for that State, and every such person so requested shall, while so sitting and acting, be entitled to such allowances as the President may by order determine and have all the jurisdiction, powers and privileges of, but shall not otherwise be deemed to be, a Judge of that High Court.
This Article can be used to appoint competent retired judges to continue to sit and act as judges of the High Court from which they retired, or as judges of other High Courts.
Senior Advocate Arvind Datar had also advocated the need to implement Article 224-A, a provision he described as the “Forgotten Article”.
The decision to bring back retired judges comes at a time when the Executive is locked in a battle with the Supreme Court of India over judicial appointments and the Memorandum of Procedure.