With sanctioned strength of 60 judges, Delhi HC is making do with 32. By August-end, with two more judges set to retire, the number will drop to 30.

Expressing concern over the court functioning with half the sanctioned number of judges, which may force her to restructure division benches, Delhi High Court’s Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal on Monday remarked that “somebody else also has to start its job”.

Justice Mittal also said, “We badly need judges. Whether we will get or not, we are worried.”

“We sent the names to the Supreme Court collegium for appointment of judges to the High Court in September last year. I am worried that more two judges is set to retire next month (August). The number (then) will drop to half its sanctioned strength,” Justice Mittal said, reacting to an application moved by a lawyer in a PIL.

The PIL states that the matter has not been heard for the last several dates, only being adjourned.

“I will have to dismantle the division benches in view of large numbers of matters pending,” Justice Mittal said.

With sanctioned strength of 60 judges, Delhi HC is making do with 32. By August-end, with two more judges set to retire, the number will drop to 30.

Justice Mittal had raised a similar concern on July 13 during hearing of the 1984 riots cases.

Accepting that the matter has been adjourned on many occasions, the bench, also comprising Justice C Hari Shankar, said, “We are also struggling with less number of judges.”

“We badly need judges. Whether we will get or not, we are worried,” Justice Mittal said and asked senior advocate Amit Sibal, “What to do?”

As Sibal said that he has heard the Centre is set to forward nearly 120 names shortlisted for appointments as HC judges to the Supreme Court collegium, Justice Mittal responded, “Hope we also get (judges). We have sent nine names in September, but till date there is (no) response.”

She said, “From next month we will have to give additional 100 matters of the division benches…you (advocates) should see that number of judges come to high court on Saturday and Sunday.”

“Somebody else also has to start its job,” she remarked.

As of July 15, there are over 71,704 cases pending in the court.

Delhi HC Justices Pratibha Rani and P S Teji will retire on August 24 and August 13, respectively, , according to the Department of Justice website.

Sources said Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra is set to inaugurate Delhi High Court’s new building, which was ready but waiting for almost seven months for a VVIP inauguration, on July 25.

5 months since name proposed for CJ

The Supreme Court collegium recommended the name of Calcutta HC’s Justice Aniruddh Bose to the Central government for appointment as chief justice of the Delhi High Court more than give months ago.

“Office of the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court has been lying vacant since long. Therefore, appointment to that office is required to be made. Justice Aniruddha Bose, Judge of Calcutta High Court, is suitable in all respects for being appointed as Chief Justice of Delhi High Court,” the collegium stated in its recommendation dated January 10 to the Centre.

Delhi High Court has been functioning with an acting chief justice for over a year now.

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