Will appoint 5 recommended judges soon: Centre assures SC
The Attorney General of India, R Venkataramani, assured the Supreme Court that the Centre will clear the pending appointment of five judges to Supreme Court recommended by the collegium very soon. The AG also stated that these judges' appointment warrants will be issued by Sunday. The collegium had in December recommended three high court chief justices and two judges for appointment to the SC.
Why does this story matter?
- Since 2014, the judiciary has been at odds with the government, which accuses the latter of seeking to control judicial appointments.
- The government has termed the collegium system for appointing judges as "opaque," while pushing for the establishment of the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC), which the judiciary claims is a tool for the government to control judicial appointments.
Contempt petition filed by Advocates Association Bengaluru for delaying appointments
The sanctioned strength of the SC is 34, including the Chief Justice of India (CJI). Once the five judges take the oath, the number will be 32. A bench of Justice SK Kaul and Justice AS Oka was hearing a contempt petition filed by the Advocates Association Bengaluru against the Centre for delaying the appointment of judges despite the collegium's recommendation.
Who are the 5 judges to be elevated to SC
The judges set to be appointed are Justice Pankaj Mithal (Chief Justice, Rajasthan High Court), Justice Sanjay Karol (Chief Justice, Patna HC), Justice PV Sanjay Kumar (Chief Justice, Manipur HC), Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah (Judge, Patna HC), and Justice Manoj Misra (Judge, Allahabad HC).
SC pulled up AG over delay in appointments
The bench expressed displeasure over the Centre not adhering to the timeline for judicial appointments, saying "it is a very, very serious issue." "Don't make us take a stand which will be very uncomfortable," the bench observed. Venkatramani requested that the days may not be recorded, despite being given a longer leeway than the stated day.
Delay could lead to unpalatable actions: SC bench
Justice Kaul said, "When things have not been happening for years together, it might be necessary to specify a clear timeline," LiveLaw reported. Noting the Centre had taken no decision regarding the proposal of transfer of HC judges made in November, he said, "Don't let us take a stand that is going to be uncomfortable," adding that further delay could lead to unpalatable actions.