Concerned about delay in the appointment in the higher judiciary and tribunals, Chief Justice of India Justice TS Thakur on Sunday said the government should “expedite” the process of filling up vacancies to ensure speedy delivery of justice.
“I feel that like the higher judiciary in the country, so also I think in the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), one of the major problems that has been experienced over the years is the difficulty or the delay involved in filling up the vacancies,” he said.
“The delay in the filling up of the vacancies is bound to affect adversely the working of tribunals.” The Chief Justice of India was addressing the Platinum Jubilee celebration of ITAT. According to the latest Law Ministry data, out of the approved strength of 1,044 judges in 24 high courts, there are 443 vacancies. With an approved strength of 31 judges, the Supreme Court has 5 vacancies.
“I have been given to understand that even today, there are 30 vacancies in ITAT. I think that while we celebrate the platinum jubilee here, we also need to impress upon the government that the process of filling up the vacancies must be expedited,” he said.
Stating that the process of filling up the vacancies is initiated by the government, Thakur said only 30 persons have been appointed in ITAT out of a list of 50 candidates recommended about two years ago. Sharing his experience, Justice Thakur said, “I happened to be heading the selection committee in the immediate past.
After a very laborious exercise of three months and spending the entire vacation on interviewing candidates, we prepared… a select list of 50 candidates. “This was submitted to the government some two years back.
Out of that list, just about 30 people have been appointed so far. The remaining have not yet been cleared,” he said. Expressing satisfaction over the time taken for justice delivery by ITAT, Thakur said the tribunal takes ordinarily between 6 months to 2 years for disposal of appeals, which in comparison to the ordinary judicial process in high courts and the Supreme Court is “very very encouraging”. But then, he said, this could be further reduced if the appointments are made on time.