Ad Hoc Judges

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    Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) stated that the process to appoint ad hoc judges must be less cumbersome.

    SC’s Suggestions

    • Need of “out-of-the-box” thinking: Roping in senior lawyers to act as ad hoc judges in High Courts to meet the rising tide of pendency.
    • Less Cumbersome Procedure:  Once the Chief Justice recommends it should happen in a matter of days.
    • Utilising Expertise of Retired Judges: The retired judges who were willing to come back to the Bench as ad hoc judges would bring their experience in dealing with arrears.

    Ad hoc Judges in High Courts

    • Article 224A of Indian Constitution deals with the appointment of ad hoc judges in High Courts.
    • The Chief Justice of India may at any time, with the prior approval of the President of India, request a person who has been in the office of Judge of that court or any other High Court to act as Judge of the High Court of that State.
    • The Chief Minister will forward his recommendation to the Union Minister of Law and Justice after consultation with the Governor.

    Apex Court’s Guidelines for the Appointment of Ad hoc Judges

    • If a high court has vacancies that are more than 20% of its sanctioned strength;
    • If cases of a specific category are pending for more than five years;
    • If over 10% of the high court’s cases are pending for more than five years;
    • If the rate of disposal of cases is lower than the rate of institution of cases (‘case clearance rate’);
    • Even if the number of old cases is low, it is likely there will be a situation of mounting arrears due to a consistently low case clearance rate for a year or more.

    Source: TH