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Ad-Hoc Judges Appointment In High Courts Under Article 224A

Article 224A of the Constitution of India authorizes the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, with the prior approval of the President, to request a former High Court judge to act as a Judge of the Supreme Court to hear cases. This arrangement has not been repeatedly called into account in the history of the Indian judiciary.

The Chief Justice of a High Court may start the procedure of recommending a name if:
  • The number of vacancies is more than 20 % of the sanctioned strength.
  • Cases in a particular class are pending for over five years.
  • More than 10 % of pending cases are over five years old.
  • Percentage of the rate of disposal is beneath the institution of the cases either in a particular subject matter or in the court.
The Chief Justice should set up a panel of judges after personal interaction with the concerned judge to take their consent. The appointments have to follow the procedure given in the Memorandum of Procedure for appointment of judges.

Pre-Recommendation Process
Certain pre recommendation process which is to be followed for appointment of Ad-Hoc Judges.
  • Previous performance of recommended retired Judges in the standard & quantum of disposal of cases should be taken into account for appointment as the main objective is to clear the long pending cases.
  • The Chief Justice should set up a panel of Judges and former High Court Judges. Usually this will be related to Judges on the stage of retirement and mostly Judges who have recently retired preferably within a period of one year.
However, there can be situations where the Judge may have retired earlier but his expertise is required in a particular subject matter or there may also be a scenario where the Judge wants to take some time off before embarking upon a second innings.

In such situation a personal interaction should be held with the Judge concerned by the Chief Justice of the High Court.

Procedure Of Appointment
Paragraph 24 of the Memorandum of Procedure deal with the process under Article 224A

Article 224A of the Constitution of India provides that the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court may at any time, with the prior approval of the President of India, request a person who has been in the office of Judge of that court or any other High Court to act as Judge of the Supreme Court of that State.

Whenever the need arises, the Chief Justice of India after obtaining the consent of the person concerned will inform the name of the retired Judge and the period during which he or she will be required to sit and act as a High Court Judge to the CM of the State.

The Chief Minister will forward his recommendation to the Union Minister of Law and Justice after consultation with the Governor.

The Minister of Justice of the Union Government then contacted the Chief Justice of India according to the procedure provided.

On receiving the advice of Chief Justice of India, it would be put up to the Prime Minister, who then advice the President related to the person to be appointed as Ad-Hoc Judge of the High Court.

After the President approves the appointment of a Judge , the Secretary of State of India to the Ministry of Justice will notify the Chief Justice of that High Court and the Chief Minister of State will issue the required notice in the Indian Gazette.

Other Rules
  1. Time To Complete Process
    A period of three months is sufficient to complete the appointment of AD-HOC Judge.
  2. Number & Tenure Of Ad-Hoc Judges
    The tenure for which an ad hoc Judge is appointed depends on the need but normally the appointment is made for a period between two to three years looking to the purpose for which they are appointed.

    For the time being dependent on the strength of the High Court the number of Ad-Hoc Judges should be between 2 to 5 in a High Court.
  3. Ad-Hoc Judges Role
    The main objective of Ad-Hoc Judge is to deal with long pendency of cases, the said objective will be sub served by assigning more than five year old cases to the appointed Ad-Hoc Judges. But if exigencies so demand for any particular subject matter the Ad-Hoc Judge can also deal with the cases less than five years old, though the primary objective must be kept in mind. A division bench of Ad-Hoc judges can also be constituted to hear old cases.
  4. Allowances Of Ad-Hoc Judges
    The emoluments and allowances of an Ad Hoc Judge(s) are at par with a serving Judge of that High Court minus the pension. This is integral to maintain the dignity of the Judge.
    The emoluments of Ad-Hoc Judges are to be charge on the Consolidated Fund of India consist of salary and allowance. Regarding the housing accommodation, either the rent-free accommodation is provided or the housing allowance should be made available on same terms and conditions.

Some Instances Of Appointment Of Ad-Hoc Judges
Article 224A has generally been an inactive provision with only three recorded instances of its application.

Justice Suraj Bhan of the Madhya Pradesh High Court was appointed as Ad- Hoc Judge after he retired. He was appointed for a period of one year for the disposal of election petitions cases.

Justice P. Venugopal of the Madras High Court was Judge for less than three years and near to retirement, he was appointed to a Commission of Inquiry to inquire into certain incidents that took place in Coimbatore town on 23.7.1981 and again appointed to 59 a one-man commission to inquire into incidents of communal riots by order dated 22.3.1982. He was appointed as an Ad-Hoc Judge in year 1982 and again his term was renewed for a period of one year from 19.8.1983.

Most recently in the year 2007, Justice O.P. Srivastava was appointed as Ad-Hoc Judge in Allahabad High Court.

It has been widely recognized that the retired judges have several decades of adjudicatory experience, and their talents can be utilized to dispose of the long pending cases.

On account of their adjudicatory experience, they will be fast in disposing old cases and remain unburdened with administrative work; they could spend their work time in hearing old pending matters. Thus, the appointment of retired judges as Ad-Hoc judges was strongly recommended in order to relieve long pendency of cases.

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Mohd Akram Khan
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