Supreme Court Mulls Guidelines For Appointment Of Ad-Hoc Judges Under Article 224A; Seeks Views Of High Courts

first_imgTop StoriesSupreme Court Mulls Guidelines For Appointment Of Ad-Hoc Judges Under Article 224A; Seeks Views Of High Courts LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK8 April 2021 1:54 AMShare This – xThe Supreme Court on Thursday said that it was intending to lay down guidelines for the appointment of ad-hoc judges in the High Courts under Article 224A of the Constitution to tackle the problem of mounting case arrears.While considering a PIL filed by an NGO named Lok Prahari seeking the use of Article 224A, a bench comprising Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Supreme Court on Thursday said that it was intending to lay down guidelines for the appointment of ad-hoc judges in the High Courts under Article 224A of the Constitution to tackle the problem of mounting case arrears.While considering a PIL filed by an NGO named Lok Prahari seeking the use of Article 224A, a bench comprising Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Surya Kant required the senior advocates representing different High Courts to submit suggestions regarding the appointment process, after having a conference with each other.The major aspects discussed by the bench during a hearing session which lasted for nearly two hours were :What should be the trigger point which activates the process of appointment of judges under Article 224A? What should be the level of pendency at which this process should be initiated?Whether the pendency must be determined branch wise or generally?What could be the uniform criteria to determine the number of ad-hoc judges at High Courts and their tenure?Whether the process of selection judges under Article 224A should undergo the same process of appointment for regular judges, involving the collegiums at High Courts and Supreme Court, the State Executive and the Union Law Ministry?What should be the allowances for such judges under Article 224A?”We want to lay down circumstances in which appointments process for ad-hoc judges should be activated”, CJI SA Bobde said during the hearing. “If the pendency in a certain jurisdiction or branch, be it criminal, civil or tax, goes up beyond a particular percentage, this can be activated. That has to be scientifically established. If the pendency is beyond a particular percentage, that will determine the tenure. The Chief Justice will based on pendency see how many ad-hoc judges are to be appointed”, the CJI said.”If the CJ thinks that to bring down the pendency close to the rate of filing, and for doing that he needs to appoint 2 ad-hoc judges for two years, he may do so. The tenure and number of ad-hoc judges will be determined by the requirement to bring down the pendency to the filing rate”, CJI Bobde explained.Justice SK Kaul said that ad-hoc judges will only hear the old pending cases and not the fresh matters.”Ad-hoc judges will be working to clear the arrears. Current matters will go to regular judges. Ad-hoc judges will hear old cases”, Justice Kaul said.The CJI told the various senior advocates appearing in the matter on behalf of High Courts that their assistance will be needed to lay down the principles in this regard.The CJI said :”There must be a principle for activating the process for appointing ad-hoc judges. That principle is linked to pendency. We want your assistance to determine what should be the level of pendency at which this process must be activated. If you assit us, we can provide a bench mark, which can alert the Chief Justices. What is the point at which pendency should have reached  and whether the pendency should be branch wise or generally. Once we have the benchmark, the process should be triggered off, and the CJ will keep a panel of former judges, and from that panel he’ll make appointments.Second is, how many appointments should be made? We will have to say, for this much pendency, one judge can be appointed. Beyond that, one more. This will have to determined scientifically to avoid arbitrariness.Next is what should be the tenure, and tenure will be depending on rate of disposal. Criminal appeals, second appeals involving huge evidence etc, take longer time. Rate of disposal is determined by that. Based on the rate of disposal in that branch, the CJI may increase the tenure, or may give extension”.The bench asked Senior Advocate Arvind P Datar, who was representing the Orissa High Court, to take the initiative to convene a virtual meeting with all other senior lawyers in the matter and to submit joint suggestions by next Wednesday. The bench will consider the matter on next Thursday, April 15.Vacancy should be the benchmark instead of pendency, Senior Adv Basant suggestsSenior Advocate R Basant, appearing for the Kerala High Court, suggested that the bench mark for use of Article 224A should be the level of vacancies in the High Courts than the pendency.”The remedy cannot be worse than the malady. All these calculations about pendency are cumbersome. Will it not be better if the process is triggered if the number of judges go below a percentage. Otherwise we’ll have to calculate the arrears, which keep on fluctuating.  If the persons in office fall short of 5 or 10 percentage, activate the process under Article 224A. Will it not be better?”, Basant suggested.Taking a different view, the CJI said that there will be the issue of pendency even if there are no vacancies in a High Court.”If there is a High Court with no vacancy but a lot of pendency, should appointments not he made?!There are High Courts where there is one Vacancy but cases are pending”, the CJI said.Is Collegium route needed for Article 224A?Senior Advocate Basant also said that the use of the term ad-hoc judges is wrong. He said that the appointment of additional or acting judges is envisaged under Article 224 of the Constitution. However, Article 224A speaks of a request made by the Chief Justice to a former judge to sit and decide pending cases.”They are not appointees. They are requestees”, Basant said. The senior counsel further said that discretion of the Chief Justice of the High Court under Article 224A cannot be ‘caged’ by guidelines. He added that there was no requirement of taking the collegium route for the purpose of Article 224A.”If we read Article 224A, it only refers to Chief Justice. The reading of the collegium requirement into Article 224A is not intended at all. It is not an appointment, but only a request to sit and act. The rigmarole of collegium is not required. The requirement of going it to the ministry, collegium etc was not the intention of Article 224A at all”, the senior counsel, who also happens to be a former judge of the Kerala High Court, said.Senior Advocate Arvind Datar also expressed the similar view. Since the persons chosen under Article 224A are retired judges who have served the High Court for several years, the same process for appointment of regular judges need not be followed, he suggested.”The retired judge need not go through the entire rigmarole of HC collegium, SC collegium etc. Our suggestion is to simplify the process”, Datar said.While the bench agreed that the process has to be simplified as regards Article 224A, it was not in favour of wholly excluding the collegium from the process.”We understand the importance of collegium and the importance of the matter going through the ministry to check the suitability of candidate, and to see his antecedents, It is correct to say al this may not be necessary as the man has worked for some years. But his continued fitness to decide cases must be looked into. How will the president know unless the matter is examined by the Ministry”, the CJI observed.Justice Kaul also voiced similar opinion.Senior Advocate Ravindra Shrivastava, appearing for the Madhya Pradesh High Court, said that if the same process is adopted for Article 224A, the same problem of files pending in Ministry might arise.”Larger problem is, President has to give assent and that’s when role of Central govt will come in and problems will be caused as there can be delay. The whole intention would be frustrated”, Srivastava said.Senior Advocate Vikas Singh said that term ad-hoc judge may not be appropriate for judges under Article 224A. He said that the term ‘ad-hoc judge’ is used only once in the Constitution, in Article 127.Vikas Singh also said that there should be a norm that the Chief Justice should not make a recommendation for ad-hoc judges without making recommendations for regular judges. He said that he was supporting the submission made by the Centre that ad-hoc judges can be appointed only after regular vacancies are filled.”You’re right in principle that method of appointment should not be used in lieu of appointment of regular judges. This is not to say that he will stop recommending regular judges. That’s why we want to keep Supreme Court Collegium in the loop”, CJI said.Allowances for ad-hoc judgesThe hearing also witnessed what should be the allowances for ad-hoc judges. It was pointed out to the bench that Article 217 uses the word “allowances”, which is to be determined by the President.The CJI asked if the allowances should be determined on a case-to-case basis or as a general rule.Senior Advocate Datar suggested that a uniform criteria across the country will be better.Senior Advocate Ravindra Srivastava suggested that the allowances should take into account the pension already being drawn by the ex-judges.”It has to be anything minus the pension”, Srivastava said. “Under Articel 224A there is no appointment. The Chief Justice requests the ex-judge. There is no concept of salary, he will be paid what the President determines as the allowances. He is not a judge, just deemed to be a judge. He is not an appointee. He is appointed only to tide over an emergency”, he explained.Senior Advocate Vikas Singh said that retired judges often get lucrative assignments as arbitrators, and this factor should be taken note of while determining the allowances.The bench has asked the Senior Advocates representing different High Courts to come with a joint suggestion on the points discussed during the hearing.”There is a natural deadline to this case”, the CJI said hinting at his retirement on April 23. The CJI asked the senior lawyers to submit the joint suggestions by next Wednesday and said that the matter will be heard on next Thursday, April 15.Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more

Grad killed in Afghanistan

first_imgA graduate student at St Anthony’s College, has been killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan while working for the US government. Michael Bhatia, who was serving as a social scientist in consultation with the US Defence Department, was killed in an attack last Wednesday on a convoy of four military vehicles. Bhatia was travelling in a Humvee at the front of the convoy when an Improvised Explosive Device went off, immediately killing Bhatia and two American soldiers. Two other soldiers sustained critical injuries. 31-year-old Bhatia had been educated at Brown University in America and was a Marshall Scholar working on his doctoral dissertation at St. Anthony’s College. His thesis was entitled: ‘The Mujahideen: A Study of Combatant Motives in Afghanistan, 1978-2004.’ Professor Margaret MacMillan, Warden of the college, expressed “great sadness…on behalf of the whole college community” at the news of Bhatia’s untimely death. “Michael was very dedicated to the people of Afghanistan and had a bright future ahead of him,” she added. An expert on International Relations, the Brown graduate had dedicated his time and knowledge to research and humanitarian aid in war-torn areas such as East Timor, Kosovo and Afghanistan. Seth Resler, a friend of Bhatia, remarked, “Mike was a true academic, but in many ways he was more like Indiana Jones.” In the three-part photo essay ‘Shooting Afghanistan – Beyond the Conflict’, published in The Globalist, Bhatia wrote, “Though I have spent the majority of my time researching the ongoing conflict, war and those involved in it, conflict is not my primary memory and way of knowing [Afghanistan].” A Facebook group, called ‘Honouring and Celebrating the Life of Michael Vinay Bhatia’, was set up in memory of Bhatia’s life and already has 247 members. A description of the group reads, “A 2001 Marshall Scholar and faculty member at Brown, he could have relaxed with a well-paying, comfortable job. Instead, he spent his life in far-away places, helping poor, marginalized victims of violent conflict and protecting American troops.” The creator of a memorial sight for Bhatia at Respectance.com, Seth Resler, says, “To me, he wasn’t an author or a professor or a scholar. To me, he was a friend.” In addition to his humanitarian work and academic success, Bhatia is fondly remembered by friends on both sides of the Atlantic. One fellow St. Anthony’s student, Diego Fleitas, fondly recalled that on arrival in Oxford “with a big smile [Michael] helped me to start up in the college life…he turned into a great comrade of academic discussions, rowing and parties, always with generosity and an open mind.” Katie Schaefer, a friend from Bhatia’s high school days in Massachusetts, also remembered his personal warmth. “I always knew he would do amazing things in his life – he was such a history buff, so smart, kind, funny and always smiling…How tragic is this loss,” she said. Bhatia had already co-authored two books, and was a visiting fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies until July 2007. He spent much of his time away in south-east Afghanistan, with the Army’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, as part of the Human Terrain System. The memorial for Bhatia by the US Army Training and Doctrine Command claims that, “During the course of his seven-month tour, Michael’s work saved the lives of both US soldiers and Afghan civilians.” St Anthony’s will be holding “A celebration of Michael’s life” in the Buttery at 6pm on 16 May, with all welcome to attend.last_img read more

Uni launches discipline review

first_imgImportant University-wide changes to SCR-JCR relationships are to be implemented in the near future, which are likely to be shaped by the outrage over the ousting of the Queen’s College JCR President.Oxford has announced a review of its appeals and complaint procedures linked to disciplinary matters focusing both on the nature of dissmals and also disparity between colleges’ use of fines and community service.There was widespread opposition when Nathan Roberts was forced to resign his JCR presidency by Queen’s SCR after failing to achieve a 2:1 in his prelims. The authorities’ further refusal to allow him an appeal seemed to many as if student voices, including those of 30 JCR presidents, had been deemed irrelevant. The review is expected to look into the case of Nathan Roberts as, after he was denied an appeal, he effectively beat the system by getting a teddy bear voted in as the next JCR President.Officials insist the review was not prompted by the recent anger that surrounded his dismissal. However, the review will have to look at incidents such Roberts’ as examples of where the student body felt that the denial of an appeal was unjust.There was concern early on in the process that the University had not learnt its lesson when it was revealed that one of the reviewing bodies, the Conference of Colleges, would not have any student representation. However, negotiations with OUSU have ensured a VP on both this and the University working group.Jonny Medland, VP for Access and Academic Affairs, holds high hopes for the review. He commented, “These issues impact students every year and I’m looking forward to working to improve the procedures which already exist. The current systems can be unclear, needlessly complex and hugely variable across colleges and clearer guidance as to how students will be treated is long overdue.”Both the University group and the Conference of Colleges hope to present initial recommendations by the end of the academic year.It is hoped that the review will produce cross-college consistency in some areas of disciplinary policy, since at the moment there are wide variations. For example, whilst many colleges use fines as punishment for rule-breaking, some use community service.This punishment is seen as fairer by several colleges, including Worcester, as fines do not affect students from different financial backgrounds in the same way, whereas community service has the same effect on everyone.However, some colleges have found it difficult to implement community service as a form of discipline. Carolyne Larrington, Senior Dean at St John’s College stated, “In practice we don’t use community service as it is difficult to find tasks for offenders to do, though this has been a policy in the past…we have found that the supervision of community service is something we would not want to devolve onto the domestic or gardening staff. So we have returned to fines.”  In what appears to be another response to the events at Queen’s, St Anne’s College this week debated a proposal to introduce contracts for JCR members, whereby they would have to agree to resign their position if they failed to achieve above a 2:2 in prelims.After discussions between members of the JCR Committee and the SCR, there seems to have been a move to re-word the proposal so that there was less compulsion for JCR members to resign, and so that decisions would not be made on the results of prelims alone, but would take into account collections and tutors’ reports.The Academic Affairs Committee met on Wednesday to discuss the proposal, and after some debate it was decided that the matter needed further consultation within the JCR.It will be debated again in second week of Hilary Term. Richard Holland, the JCR Academic Rep stated, “Needless to say we don’t agree with the proposal in its present form but were are looking to work with College constructively to find an acceptable solution.”last_img read more

BUKU Music + Art Project Adds Grizmatik, Run The Jewels, & More

first_imgBUKU Music + Art Project is returning to New Orleans to take over Mardis Gras World this spring. The festival has just finalized their 2017 lineup with Grizmatik, the pioneering electro soul/funk duo comprised of Griz and Gramatik, hip-hop super group Run The Jewels, Norwegian DJ and chart-topping producer Cashmere Cat, mysterious electronic producer K?D, Berlin-based microhouse group M.A.N.D.Y; New Orleans DJ/producer Unicorn Fukr; New Orleans livetronica duo ROAR!; and many more.Taking place on March 10th and 11th, the festival will see headlining sets from Deadmau5 and Travis Scott, but the party doesn’t stop there. The full lineup posting includes Zeds Dead, Young Thug, Zhu, Tycho, Jauz, 21 Savage, Sleigh Bells, Vince Staples, Nina Kravitz, Lil Dicky, Troyboi, Washed Out, Lil Yachty, Malaa, Slushii, Thundercat, The Floozies and more! It’s a great party that’s sure to keep fans dancing throughout the weekend. Check out the full lineup below and head to the festival’s website for more information.Enter to Win VIP Tickets + Limited Edition Poster:last_img read more

2 More Suffolk Roof Collapses Reported After Blizzard

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Two more partial roof collapses have been reported in Suffolk County after a blizzard blanketed parts of eastern Long Island in a record 33 inches of snow over the weekend.The roof collapsed at a vacant Nappa Auto Parts store at the corner of Main Street and Rider Avenue in Patchogue on Tuesday morning, according to Suffolk County police and Patchogue village officials.The ceiling also collapsed at 30 Minute Photo on Fort Salonga Road in East Northport due to water leakage, taking down wires in the process, according to police.Firefighters responded to the scene in both cases. There were no reported injuries in either collapse.The incidents come after Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove was forced to close at 4 p.m. Monday because water leaked into several stores. All but six stores reopened Tuesday afternoon.A mall spokeswoman said reports that the mall’s roof partially collapsed are untrue. The Fire Marshall has been inspecting the mall.Smithtown Bowl also suffered a partial roof collapse over the weekend.last_img read more