Out of 77 proposals submitted by the Supreme Court Collegium (SCC), the Government has appointed 34 Judges in various High Courts and sent the names of 43 recommendees to the SCC for reconsideration. The SCC reiterated the names of 37 recommendees; the proposal of three recommendees has been deferred and the proposal of other three recommendees are with SC
Minister of State for Law PP Chaudhary on Friday told the Rajya Sabha that the major reasons for referring back 43 recommendees to the Supreme Court Collegium on the appointment of Judges are views of consultee Judges, views of Constitutional Authorities, adverse Intelligence Bureau (IB) inputs, serious nature of complaints received against recommendees etc.
The Minister was giving a written reply to Mr. Motilal Vora, who had asked the following questions regarding the appointment of Judges:
(a) whether the Government has received the names of 77 Judges through Collegium in the last nine months;
(b) if so, the current status with regard to the appointment of Judges;
(c) the reasons for not appointing Judges by Government during the last
nine months; and
(d) by when the final decision on the list received from the Collegium would be taken?
And the following reply was given by the Minister
“Out of 77 proposals submitted by Supreme Court Collegium (SCC), the Government has appointed 34 Judges in various High Courts and sent the names of 43 recommendees to the SCC for reconsideration. SCC reiterated the names of 37 recommendees; the proposal of 3 recommendees has been deferred and the proposal of 3 recommendees are with SC. The major reasons for referring back 43recommendees to Supreme Court Collegium on the appointment of Judges are views of consultee Judges, views of Constitutional authorities, adverse Intelligence Bureau(IB) inputs, serious nature of complaints received against recommendees etc.”
Filling of vacancies of Judges in the Supreme Court and High Courts is a continuous and collaborative process of the Judiciary and Executive. As the process of finalisation of the revised Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for appointment of Judges to Supreme Court and High courts was likely to take some time, on the initiative of the Government of India the matter was taken up with the Supreme Court and the process of appointment of Judges has been resumed, pending finalization of the revised MoP. During the current year, as on 21.11.2016, 124 Additional Judges have been made permanent and 120 fresh appointments of Judges have been made in the High Courts.
On 18th November, Chief Justice TS Thakur told Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that the collegium had reiterated the names of all 43 judges for the High Courts, whose candidature were sent back for reconsideration to the collegium by the Centre two weeks before.
“We (collegium) met last recently and we are reiterating all the names. The appointment may be made,” Chief Justice Thakur told Rohatgi.
Earlier, the Centre refused to appoint 43 of 77 names recommended by the Collegium for appointment as HC Judges.
Two weeks after being slammed for attempting of trying to bring the judiciary to a grinding halt by delaying appointment of judges, the Centre, on November 11, told the CJI-led bench that 34 judges were appointed to the High Courts. Appearing for the Centre, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said out of 77 names recommended by collegium, 43 names were sent back for reconsideration.
After the AG submitted a list regarding the appointments, CJI Thakur had perused it and said the collegium would meet on November 15 and a detailed order would be passed later in open court.
It is to be noted that Rohatgi had, on October 28, sought one more chance to “come up with something positive” on judges’ appointments, defusing the volatile situation and preventing the summoning of the top officials of the PMO and justice ministry.
“Please do not issue notice now. Kindly post it after vacations by then some positive steps would have been taken,” Rohatgi had assured after which the CJI softened down a bit.
“In Allahabad, out of a sanctioned strength of 165, there are only 77 judges. In Karnataka High Court, an entire floor of courts is locked because there are no judges. Once we had a situation where we had judges, but no courtrooms. But now there are courtrooms but no judges. You may now as well close court rooms down and lock justice out. You can have the institution called the judiciary locked,” an angry CJI had told Rohatgi, who represented the Centre, while hearing a PIL filed by 1971 war veteran Lieutenant Colonel Anil Kabotra and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay on the issue.
The scathing remarks began when Rohatgi began reading out the status report on judicial appointments and started off by saying that it had cleared two out of eight recommendations. The CJI then had said: “What about the remaining six. It has been four months. Overall, we had made 88 recommendations. You are sitting on them. If there are inconsistencies with them, bring it back. If there are problems with the candidates, tell us. Do not bring the judiciary to a grinding halt.”
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