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SC reserves order on plea filed for appointment of ad-hoc judges in HC

The Apex Court has reserved orders on a plea which sought for appointment of ad-hoc judges in High Courts by making a reference to Article 224A of Indian Constitution.

The bench headed by Chief Justice of India was hearing a plea filed by an NGO, Lok Prahari, which sought for invocation of Article 224A in order to handle the issue of pending cases at the High Courts.

The bench stated that the instant case would not be completely disposed off and interim orders would be passed in the nature of continuing mandamus.

The bench observed that Article 224A appears as a salutary provision. It also stated that if ad-hoc judges are appointed for the purpose of clearing the arrears, the courts would be able to devote more time for deciding the constitutional matters pending before it.

The bench also made a suggestion that the ad-hoc judges could take care of the old cases which have been pending for over 10-15 years and the regular judges could hear the current matters as and when filed.

On the previous hearing for this matter, the apex court had asked the senior advocates, which represented different High Courts, to make joint suggestions regarding the appointment of ad-hoc judges.

One of the senior advocate, representing the Orissa HC, stated that a written note had been submitted to the court which contained suggestions regarding the appointment procedure, allowances, tenure, etc. of the ad-hoc judges.

The President of SCBA also gave a suggestion and stated that the ad-hoc judges must be allowed to handle the arbitration work, however, the same was not considered by the bench.

The bench also stated that the allowances of ad-hoc judges would be drawn from the Consolidated Fund of India.

Moreover, the bench opined that the fitness of the person would be relevant factor while deciding continued appointment of judges.

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