Expressing dismay over the delay in filling up judicial vacancies across the country, the Bombay High Court on Friday asked the Union government when will it think about giving a "booster" for the judiciary.
It also said that if the government wants the country's economy to get a booster, how can it not fill up the vacancies in the tribunals that are supposed to help banks recover financial dues.
"We are talking about boosters these days. Booster vaccines, boosters for the economy. We read somewhere that the current budget is a booster for the nation's economy. But where is booster for the judiciary?" the high court asked.
A bench of high court's Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice M S Karnik made the comments while hearing two writ petitions seeking a direction to the Union government to appoint a chairperson for the Debt Recovery Appellate Tribunal (DRAT) in Mumbai.
The post of the DRAT chairperson and for the presiding officers of several Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs) across the state have been lying vacant for some months now. As a result, the bench led by chief justice Datta has been flooded with cases seeking reliefs that would have otherwise gone before the DRTs and the DRAT.
On Friday, the bench took exception to the delay on part of the Union government to fill such vacancies despite previous orders of the court. It noted that it had passed the first such order on filling up the vacancies on December 2, 2021. But the government is yet to even explain what was causing the delay, it said.
"The DRAT is an important institution for a city like Mumbai, which is the financial capital of the country," the HC said.
"If the Union government wants the country's economy to get a booster, how can it not fill up the vacancies in the tribunals that are supposed to help banks recover financial dues?" it asked.
The high court directed the central government to submit a note by next Thursday indicating the "road map" for filling up the DRAT vacancy.
"Please convey the concern of the court to your officers. If by next Thursday we do not get a proper picture, we may have to think otherwise," the high court told the Union's counsel - Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh.
"On the one hand, we want to boost the economy, while on the other we are not letting banks recover money," it said.
The court also remarked orally that the union government must give reasonable consideration to filling up vacancies in the judiciary across the country. PTI AYA NP NP
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