New Delhi: In a significant step to tackle mounting cases, a conference of chief ministers and chief justices of high courts on Sunday adopted a resolution to invoke a constitutional provision to appoint retired judicial officers as ad hoc judges.
Chief Justice of India TS Thakur announced that the conference adopted a resolution that Article 224 A will be invoked to allow chief justices of high courts to appoint retired judicial officers as ad hoc judges.
"There is a provision in the Constitution. It means that it is meant to be invoked," he said.
Article 224 A of the Constitution states that the Chief Justice of a high court, with the previous consent of the President (Centre), request any person who has held the office of a judge of that court or any other high court to sit and act as a judge of the high court for that state.
There are nearly 3 crore cases pending before the judiciary, including the Supreme Court, the 24 high courts and various subordinate courts.
He said these ad hoc judges will tackle criminal cases where appeals have not been heard for the past five years.
These judges will be appointed for a period of two years or upto the time they attain the age of 65.
The CJI said these judges can also preside over 'holiday courts' on Saturdays and Sundays.
The conference also resolved that vacancies will be filled up in lower courts and the cadre strength will be increased by 10 per cent per annum till the review of the cadre strength is carried out in the near future.
According to latest Law Ministry figures, the approved strength of the subordinate judiciary is 20,214 with 4,580 vacancies. The approved strength of the 24 high courts is 1,056 and the vacancy was pegged at 458 as on March one.
In the apex court, there are six vacancies against the sanctioned strength of 31 judges, including the CJI.