A day after advocates of the Karnataka High Court called off a relay hunger strike launched on Monday, the Ministry of Law and Justice on Friday okayed the appointment of five candidates to the post of additional judges at the High Court for two years. The strike, which saw widespread support from all major political parties as well as former judges, was called for as only 24 judges were hearing cases as against the sanctioned strength of 62. This resulted in a huge backlog of cases.
The notification issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice on Friday evening has appointed Dixit Krishna Shripad, Shankar Ganapathi Pandit, Ramakrishna Devdas, Bhotanhosur Mallikarjuna Shyam Prasad and Siddappa Sunil Dutt Yadav as Additional Judges in the same order of seniority. The five names had been cleared by the Supreme Court collegium as part of a list of 19 advocates to be elevated as judges of the Madras, Karnataka and Calcutta High Courts back in December.
Dixit Krishna Prasad currently holds the post of Assistant Solicitor General of India-Karnataka while Ramakrishna Devdas is the Principal Government Advocate for the state. Sunil Dutt served as a special counsel for cases related to the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE) and Pandit has appeared on behalf of public authorities in matters related to education earlier. Shyam Prasad is a designated senior counsel. However, the appointment of these judges still leaves the Karnataka High Court with a sizeable vacancy of 32 judges. According to a letter penned by the Chief Minister to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, around 2,50,000 cases were pending before the High Court in Bengaluru, Dharwad and Kalaburagi benches.