Indian courts have a problem of shortage of judges. Out of 1,080 sanctioned posts for judges in higher courts as well as the Supreme Court, as many as 419 are lying vacant. Only 661 posts are being occupied, shows data provided by Minister of Law & Justice, Communications and Electronics & Information and Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad in the Lok Sabha. When it comes to lower courts, as many as 24,247 posts have been sanctioned but 4,928 are lying vacant.
The Supreme Court has a sanctioned strength of 34, out of which four posts are lying vacant. The highest number of posts lying vacant among the higher courts is in Allahabad High Court with 64 vacancies, out of a sanctioned strength of 160 posts. Bombay High Court has 31 vacancies out of 94 sanctioned posts, while Delhi High Court has 29 vacancies out of 60 sanctioned posts.
Madras High Court has 13 vacancies out of a sanctioned strength of 75 posts, while Calcutta High Court has 40 vacancies out of 72 sanctioned posts.
Manipur High Court, Meghalaya High Court and Sikkim High Court have 0 vacancies, out of five, four and three sanctioned posts.
When it comes to subordinate judiciary, Uttar Pradesh has the most number of vacancies at 1,053 out of 3,634 sanctioned posts. Bihar courts have 503 vacancies, out of 1,936 sanctioned posts, while Madhya Pradesh has 411 vacancies out of 2,021 sanctioned posts. Delhi has 150 vacancies out of 799 sanctioned posts, while Maharashtra has 250 vacancies out of 2,190 sanctioned posts.
Union Territories of Daman and Diu, and Lakshadweep have 0 vacancies out of sanctioned strength of four and three posts respectively.
The questions on shortage of judges was asked by INC member Jyotsna Charandas Mahant in the Lok Sabha. "Under Article 235 of the Constitution of India, the administrative control over the members of district and subordinate judiciary in the States vest with the concerned High Court. Further, in exercise of powers conferred under proviso to Article 309 read with Articles 233 and 234 of the Constitution, the respective State Government, in consultation with the High Court, frames the Rules and Regulations regarding the issues of appointment, promotion, reservations, etc. of Judicial Officers in the State Judicial Service. Hence, in so far as recruitment of judicial officers in the States is concerned, respective High Courts do it in certain States, whereas the High Courts do it in consultation with the State Public Service Commissions in other States. Central Government has no role in the matter. Recruitment in the Subordinate judiciary is an ongoing and continuous process and each year vacancies are filled either fully or partially," stated Ravi Shankar Prasad in his reply.