The Supreme Court on Thursday pulled up the High Courts over the delay in filling vacancies in the judiciary. The top court warned that it will take over the task of filling vacancies itself and make it a centralised process if High Courts are unable to do it, reported ANI.

On October 23, the Supreme Court had taken suo motu cognisance of the large number of vacancies in the subordinate judiciary across the country and sought responses from the High Courts, reported The Indian Express.

Information collected by the Supreme Court registry from registries of High Courts showed that there are 5,133 vacancies and processes to fill 4,180 of these posts are under way, according to India Legal. However, it also said the recruitment process is yet to begin for 1,324 posts of the 5,133 posts, seemingly pointing to a mismatch in the numbers.

The Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi heard the matter in batches. The court observed that the Delhi High Court was the “most deficient”. “Total number of applicants are 200 and you are taking two years,” the bench said. “What is this laid-back attitude? You may give 1,001 excuses but is this really justifiable? If you can’t do it, we will do it.”

Gogoi said all states were under the Supreme Court’s “gaze” and that the problem of vacancies had not even been looked into till the top court stepped in on the administrative side.

The court ended the hearing with a directive to the High Courts to “do whatever you want, just fill up all these the posts”.