HC to get five more judges in early Jan

Union government clears appointment of 5 govt counsels to the posts

HC to get five more judges in early Jan

The Centre has cleared the appointment of five government counsels as judges of the High Court of Karnataka in a move that is expected to reduce the backlog of cases which increased after several senior judges retired in 2013 and 2014.

Government counsels — Veerappa B, Pawan Kumar Bhajantri, Narendra Guha, Sujatha S and Dinesh Kumar P S — will be sworn in as High Court judges in the first week of January.

Sources in the High Court, confirming the appointments, said that the warrants to appoint the advocates as judges might come any time now. “The verification process, which is necessary before the appointment of judges, is complete and the warrant may come any moment now,” the sources said.

A number of High Court judges have retired since mid-2013. Justices V Jagannathan, Ajit Gunjal, H N Nagamohan Das, H S Kempanna, B S Indrakala, K N Keshavnarayana, Jawad Rahim and most recently K Bhakthavatsala retired from service.

Besides, there has been no replacement for Justice Dilip Bhosale who was transferred from the High Court of Karnataka. Another judge, Justice Govindaraju, died in a road accident while an additional judge, Justice B V Pinto, completed his term in 2013.

There are at least eight vacancies for judges in the High Court, the full strength being 38. At the permanent bench at Dharwad, just five or six court halls are functioning, out the total 11.

At the Gulbarga bench, only three of the 11 court halls are functioning. One of the courts halls should house a division bench. The Supreme Court has sanctioned 60 posts of judges for the High Court of Karnataka, including for the circuit benches.

The appointment of five judges, according to Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, T B Jayachandra, was made after he requested the Union Minister for Law, D V Sadananda Gowda, to expedite the process.

“We had completed the formalities by recommending the names. But the matter had been pending with the Union government for long. Even the appointment of chairman for the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal is pending with the Centre,” Jayachandra told Deccan Herald.

When it was pointed out that the Supreme Court had sanctioned 60 judges, the minister said that more appointments would be made later once the pending vacancies were filled. The Lok Sabha elections and other matters earlier this year delayed the appointment of judges, he added.

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