Will confirm 44 judges' appointment soon: Centre to Supreme Court
The names of 44 judges will be confirmed for appointment to the higher judiciary within three days, the Centre informed the Supreme Court on Friday. This came after the government was instructed to "follow the law of the land" and not stall the process. Hearing a plea on the delay, the SC instructed the Centre to clear the pending names as early as possible.
Why does this story matter?
- Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud-led SC collegium recommended five judges for elevation to the apex court last month.
- However, they joined a list yet to be cleared by the Centre amid a debate over appointing judges with Law Minister Kiren Rijiju.
- In December, the SC said the collegium method of appointing judges is the law and remarks against it weren't "well taken."
'Working for better system in place': Attorney General of India
Attorney General of India, R Venkataramani, also informed the SC bench that recommendations for three high court chief justices were still under review. Furthermore, Venkataramani said clearing the SC's recommendations would take a little longer as the procedure involved the highest degree of application of the mind, reported India Today. "We are working for a better system in place," it quoted him as saying.
SC bench asks Venkataramani to perform duty judiciously
The bench, however, highlighted on Friday that the government had returned 22 names by the apex court, including a few names reiterated by the SC collegium. It also criticized the delays in clearing the pending judges, claiming that eligible individuals were hesitant to join now. Furthermore, the SC bench instructed the Attorney General to perform his duty judiciously, calling Venkataramani the Bar's "Bhismapitamah."
SC questions third party involvement
During Friday's hearing, the top court also expressed dissatisfaction with the Centre for sitting over the cases of transferring judges, questioning if any third parties were influencing it. "In that, the government has a very limited role. Keeping them pending sends a very wrong signal. It is unacceptable to the collegium," the SC bench told the government.
SC to again hear case on February 3
"Sending back reiterated names...is a matter of concern. Government might have apprehensions, but names cannot be kept on hold without sending us some comments in the fear that we will reiterate (sic)," the bench said. It also emphasized that once the collegium reiterates any names, there shouldn't be any issues clearing their appointment. The SC will hear the case again on February 3.