Process to appoint ad hoc judges must be less cumbersome: Supreme Court

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Source: The post is based on the article “Process to appoint ad hoc judges must be less cumbersome: Supreme Court” published in The Hindu on 9th December 2022

What is the News?

The Supreme Court has said that the process suggested by the Centre for the appointment of ad-hoc judges in high courts is “very cumbersome” and suggested a simpler procedure should be adopted so the real objective of their appointment doesn’t get defeated.

Background

In 2021, the Supreme Court had laid down certain guidelines for making appointment of ad hoc judges on a petition filed by NGO Lok Prahari. 

The judgment noticed that Article 224A has largely been a “dormant provision” with only three recorded instances of its invocation in 1972 (Madhya Pradesh high court), 1982 (Madras high court) and 2007 (Allahabad high court). 

Note: According to Article 224A, the chief justice of a high court can request a retired judge of any high court to become a judge of that particular high court. Such an appointment would come into effect with the approval of the President of India. 

What are the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court for making appointments of ad hoc judges?

Click Here to read

​​This judgment required the Centre to prepare a Memorandum of Procedure(MoP) for this.

What is the MoP prepared by the Centre?

The MoP prepared by the Centre for appointing ad hoc judges to High Courts has nearly 20 service conditions which included a six-monthly review of their performance, a report to be drawn out on the judgments delivered and a minimum three years’ service as district judicial officer among other conditions.

What was the Supreme Court’s view on this MoP?

The Supreme Court suggested the Centre to prepare a simpler MoP as these judges are not being selected for the first time. These are persons willing to take the load of work.

The court also suggested that some senior lawyers are willing to offer their services as ad hoc judges as they are willing to serve on the bench for a limited period of two to three years but not commit to a longer tenure.

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