According to the latest data complied by the Law Ministry, out of the approved strength of 1,044 judges in the 24 High Courts, there are 443 vacancies. The high courts are functioning with 601 judges as on January 1.
The Allahabad High Court faces the maximum vacancies of 86 judges, followed by 38 in the Madras High Court. The approved strength of the Madras High Court has been increased from 60 to 75 with effect from December 21, 2015.
The High Courts of Bombay and Punjab and Haryana have 35 vacancies each. While the Meghalaya High Court is one judge short of its approved strength of four, the Sikkim High Court with an approved strength of three is also short of one judge.
The High Court of Tripura has no vacancy,
With an approved strength of 31 judges, the Supreme Court also has 5 vacancies.
There was no system in place between April 13 and October 16 last year on appointments to the Supreme Court and the high courts.
The National Judicial Appointments Commission Act and an accompanying Constitutional Amendment Act were notified on April 13, but were declared as unconstitutional by the top court on October 16.
When the NJAC Act was in force, the proposed panel had failed to function as the then Chief Justice of India Justice H L Dattu had refused to be a part of it.
No judge could be elevated as chief justice of a high court, transferred to another high court or elevated to the Supreme Court as there was no system in place for the purpose.