New Delhi, February 3
Signalling a thaw in the ongoing standoff over the appointment of judges, the Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that the new appointments of judges to the top court would be notified soon.
The assurance was given by Attorney General R Venkataramani to a Bench led by Justice SK Kaul during the hearing of a PIL filed by Advocates’ Association, Bengaluru, alleging “wilful disobedience” of the time frame laid down by the top court on April 20, 2021, to facilitate the timely appointment of judges.
There are two sets of recommendations made by the Collegium led by CJI DY Chandrachud on December 13 and January 31 for the appointment of five and two judges to the Supreme Court, respectively. The AG’s assurance related to the December 13 recommendation. Taking exception to the Centre sitting over the Collegium’s recommendations for the appointment and transfer of judges, the Bench warned it of judicial and administrative action that would not be palatable if the government continued to sit over the recommendations.
Regarding the Collegium’s recommendations for appointments in various High Courts, the AG sought time. As Venkataramani said that “it’s happening”, the Bench said: “It has been happening! But when will this happen? Things have not been happening for years together.”
Justice Kaul said, “Sometimes you do it overnight, sometimes it takes days. There is no uniformity.... This is really troubling us…. If the transfer orders issued are not implemented… if we think somebody should be working in ‘court B’ instead of ‘court A’ and you keep this issue pending, it is very, very serious, more serious than anything else. You will make us take some very, very difficult decisions.”
As the court pointed out that one of the judges recommended to be appointed as the Chief Justice of a High Court was due to retire in 19 days, the Attorney General said he was aware of it.
The Bench said it would give 10 days to the Centre to notify the appointments. It posted the matter for hearing on February 13.
The Supreme Court Collegium had on December 13 recommended the elevation of Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal, Patna High Court Chief Justice Sanjay Karol, Manipur High Court Chief Justice PV Sanjay Kumar, Patna High Court Judge Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Allahabad High Court Judge Manoj Misra as judges of the Supreme Court.
Amid the ongoing tussle with the government over judicial appointments, the Collegium had on January 31 further recommended elevation of Allahabad High Court Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Aravind Kumar as judges of the top court.
In order to prevent the government from disturbing the order of seniority decided by it, the Collegium had said, “The names recommended earlier by the Collegium by its resolution dated December 13, 2022, shall have precedence over the two names recommended at present for appointment to the Supreme Court. Therefore, the appointments of five judges recommended on December 13, 2022 should be notified separately and earlier in point of time before the two judges recommended by this resolution.”
The Supreme Court – which has a sanctioned strength of 34 judges — is currently functioning with 27 judges; “seven clear vacancies”; and has 69,768 cases awaiting adjudication as on January 1, 2023.
Most Read In 24 Hours
Don't MissView All
Not afraid of arrest, will soon appear before world, says Amritpal Singh in new video
Khalistan sympathiser appeals to Akal Takht chief to call ‘S...
Have to deal with threats to democracy through democratic processes: Congress after Digvijaya’s ‘thank you Germany’ tweet
BJP leaders attack the Congress, accusing the party of invit...
11 killed as roof of well collapses at Indore temple
Ten women and a man died in the accident, state home ministe...
Violence during Ram Navami procession in Bengal's Howrah, CM Mamata Banerjee warns of stern action
Several vehicles torched, shops ransacked on Thursday evenin...
Delhi govt closely watching Covid situation; Kejriwal's review meeting on Friday
India reports 40 per cent jump in new Covid cases