Daily Answer Writing Polity-Bills- Acts and Judgments

Supreme Court paves way for Ad hoc Judges in High Court

Context: Terming pendency of around 57 lakh cases in High Courts as “docket explosion”, the Supreme Court activated a “dormant” constitutional provision to pave way for the appointment of retired High Court judges as ad-hoc ones for a period of two to three years to clear the backlog and came out with guidelines to regulate appointments.

  • Article 224A, used rarely, of the Constitution deals with the appointment of ad-hoc judges in High Court and says “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”.

Analysis

In case of the Supreme Court

Acting Chief Justice

  • The President can appoint a judge of the Supreme Court as an acting Chief Justice of India when:
  • 1. the office of Chief Justice of India is vacant; or
  • 2. the Chief Justice of India is temporarily absent; or
  • 3. the Chief Justice of India is unable to perform the duties of his office.

Ad hoc Judge

  • When there is a lack of quorum of the permanent judges to hold or continue any session of the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice of India can appoint a judge of a High Court as an ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court for a temporary period.
  • He can do so only after consultation with the chief justice of the High Court concerned and with the previous consent of the president.
  • The judge so appointed should be qualified for appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court.
  • It is the duty of the judge so appointed to attend the sittings of the Supreme Court, in priority to other duties of his office.
  • While so attending, he enjoys all the jurisdiction, powers and privileges (and discharges the duties) of a judge of the Supreme Court.

Retired Judge

  • At any time, the chief justice of India can request a retired judge of the Supreme Court or a retired judge of a high court (who is duly qualified for appointment as a judge of the Supreme Court) to act as a judge of the Supreme Court for a temporary period.
  • He can do so only with the previous consent of the president and also of the person to be so appointed.
  • Such a judge is entitled to such allowances as the president may determine.
  • He will also enjoy all the jurisdiction, powers and privileges of a judge of Supreme Court.
  • But, he will not otherwise be deemed to be a judge of the Supreme Court.

Important Articles

  • Article 126: Appointment of acting chief justice
  • Article 127: Appointment of adhoc judges
  • Article 128: Attendance of retired judges at sittings of the Supreme Court

In case of the High Courts

Acting Chief Justice

  • The President can appoint a judge of a high court as an acting chief justice of the high court when:
  • 1. the office of chief justice of the high court is vacant; or
  • 2. the chief justice of the high court is temporarily absent; or
  • 3. the chief justice of the high court is unable to perform the duties of his office.

Additional and Acting Judges

  • The President can appoint duly qualified persons as additional judges of a high court for a temporary period not exceeding two years when:
  • 1. there is a temporary increase in the business of the high court; or
  • 2. there are arrears of work in the high court.
  • The President can also appoint a duly qualified person as an acting judge of a high court when a judge of that high court (other than the chief justice) is:
  • 1. unable to perform the duties of his office due to absence or any other reason; or
  • 2. appointed to act temporarily as chief justice of that high court.
  • An acting judge holds office until the permanent judge resumes his office.
  • However, both the additional or acting judge cannot hold office after attaining the age of 62 years.

Retired Judges

  • At any time, the chief justice of a high court of a state can request a retired judge of that high court or any other high court to act as a judge of the high court of that state for a temporary period.
  • He can do so only with the previous consent of the President and also of the person to be so appointed.
  • Such a judge is entitled to such allowances as the President may determine.
  • He will also enjoy all the jurisdiction, powers and privileges of a judge of that high court.
  • But, he will not otherwise be deemed to be a judge of that high court.
Suggested Read:
Seat of Supreme Court and National Court Of Appeal
 102 Constitutional Amendment Act

Important Articles

  • Article 223: Appointment of acting Chief Justice
  • Article 224: Appointment of additional and acting judges
  • Article 224A: Appointment of retired judges at sittings of High Courts
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