Chennai: The Madras Bar Association has suggested setting a time frame for every stage of selection of judges, saying the process should be started at high courts at least nine months in advance of the expected vacancy caused by retirement.
The names should be recommended seven months in advance, it said.
Stated its views in a memorandum to be submitted by two senior lawyers who would appear on its behalf before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Personal, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, New Delhi on November 2.
It submitted the memorandum while referring to the 'inordinate delay' in filling up vacancies in high courts and the Supreme Court.
It said vacancies should be earmarked respectively for the Bar and Service, taking into consideration the existing strength of judges representing the Bar and Service, so that the proportion of 3:1 from the Bar and Service is maintained.
Any fraction of percentage should be counted in favour of service, lest eligible district judges may either retire or may not have a two-year minimum service as high court judge.
The association suggested that the practice of returning the list of judges under consideration due to change of Chief Minister or Chief Justice should be discontinued.
It also suggested that if an acting CJ holds office for 60 days and more, he should be permitted to commence the selection process and make recommendations of names for appointment as high court judges.
Steps should be taken to cut off delay in appointment of judges for high courts and the Supreme Court. For this purpose, the Constitution should be amended by fixing a time limit to fill vacancy of judges, the association said.
In this regard, the memorandum pointed out that in the case of the President, Article 62(1) says election to fill the vacancy caused by expiration of the term of office of the President shall be completed before expiration of the term.
A similar time limit is in place for the Vice President, state legislatures and the local bodies.
It noted that Chief Justices of high courts are always from other states, as a policy. Due to their transfers on some occasions, other judges in the Collegium too sometimes are from outside the state.
In such a scenario, judges constituting the Collegium do not have clear personal knowledge of members of the Bar for being considered for elevation.
So it was desirable if the second and third seniormost judges of a High Court Collegium are from outside the state, two senior most judges from the state are elevated from the Bar and subordinate judiciary be co-opted on the HC Collegium.