Every high court (whether exclusive or common) consists of a chief justice and such other judges as the president may from time to time deem necessary to appoint. Thus, the Constitution does not specify the strength of a high court and leaves it to the discretion of the president. Accordingly, the President determines the strength of a high court from time to time depending upon its workload.
Appointment of Judges The judges of a high court are appointed by the President. The chief justice is appointed by the President after consultation with the chief justice of India and the governor of the state concerned. For appointment of other judges, the chief justice of the concerned high court is also consulted. In case of a common high court for two or more states, the governors of all the states concerned are consulted by the president.
In the Second Judges case (1993), the Supreme Court ruled that no appointment of a judge of the high court can be made, unless it is in conformity with the opinion of the chief justice of India. In the Third Judges case (1998), the Supreme Court opined that in case of the appointment of high court judges, the chief justice of India should consult a collegium of two senior-most judges of the Supreme Court. Thus, the sole opinion of the chief justice of India alone does not constitute the ‘consultation’ process.
The 99th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2014 and the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act of 2014 have replaced the Collegium System of appointing judges to the Supreme Court and High Courts with a new body called the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC). However, in 2015, the Supreme Court has declared both the 99th Constitutional Amendment as well as the NJAC Act as unconstitutional and void. Consequently, the earlier collegium system became operative again. This verdict was delivered by the Supreme Court in the Fourth Judges case (2015). The Court opined that the new system (i.e., NJAC) would affect the independence of the judiciary.