Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur on Tuesday took on the Centre once again for not clearing even the re-appointment of 25 retired judges as ad hoc judges for various high courts in the country. Chief Justice Thakur, sitting with Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and L. nageswara Rao, told Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh: “There are over 50 per cent vacancies in high courts. There are people (judges) who are retired. Twenty five names are lying with you. You have not cleared it.” The court was hearing a PIL filed by Imtiaz Ahmed on infrastructure improvement in judiciary. The ASG told the court that under the 14th Finance Commission recommendation, the Centre had allocated Rs 9000 cr for infrastructural development of high courts/subordinate courts for the period starting from April 2015. But the CJI said the allocation did not reflect in the existing infrastructure in various high courts as States say they have no resources. When Mr. Singh maintained that the Centre can’t be blamed for the situation as the funds are allocated to the respective State governments, the CJi shot back and observed “If States are taking the plea that they have no resources and infrastructure, what is the Union of India doing?.”
The ASG argued that even under the earlier 13th Finance Commission allocation of Rs 5,000 cr, only Rs 1,000 cr was utilised for the infrastructural development by high courts across the country for which the Centre can’t be blamed.
The CJI said: “States have to utilise the funds and approach the high courts. But how much money is released to the judiciary is not known. How will you (Centre) monitor? How will you ensure the money is allocated for judiciary? You can’t say, we have allocated Rs 10,000 cr. You should ensure that this money, meant for judiciary, will not be used for any other purpose.”