Stating he "respectfully" disagrees with Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, Union Law and Justice Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday said the government has so far appointed 120 High Court judges, adding this is the second highest number of appointments in the history of the country's judicial system.
"We have got the highest regard for the CJI, but we respectfully disagree with him. This year we have made 120 appointments. This is the second highest after 121 were appointed in 2013. Since 1990 there had only been 80 appointments," Prasad told the media.
Prasad also said that the Supreme Court has failed to make the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP), a document to guide appointment of judges to higher judiciary, more transparent and reasonable despite repeated requests from the government.
"But for the larger issue of appointment is concerned, there is a Supreme Court decision of making the MoP more transparent, objective, reasonable, fair and the government's stand is pending for more than three months and we are yet to hear from the Supreme Court," he said.
Responding to Justice Thakur's claim that there is a lack of adequate infrastructure provided to the tribunals, Prasad said, "As far as infrastructure is concerned, it is a continuous process. So many tribunal courts are there. But we need to understand that every retired Supreme Court judge cannot be given the same bungalow of the same size, there is land constraint also."
Earlier, Justice Thakur stated that there were 500 judges' posts lying vacant in High Courts while adding that courtrooms are unable to function without judges.
He further said that in principle, the judiciary was not against the formation of Tribunals because it would relieve court duties, but the problem arose from the lack of adequate infrastructure provided to the Tribunals.