Taking a grim view of the Centre sitting on the 89 names who were recommended for judgeship and also not taking a decision on its collegium recommendation for transfer of 26 high court judges and appointment of 19 new judges, the apex court on September 26 had set a deadline of October 9 for Centre to come back with “some results” or be ready to face problems.
At the outset of hearing, a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia praised attorney general R Venkataramani for convincing the government to clear the names. Justice Kaul, who is part of the SC collegium, said that the collegium has received 70 names from the law ministry and it would examine them and take a decision most probably within two weeks before Durga Puja holidays. The AG said that the government would take a call on remaining recommendations pending before it.
SC to govt: Give us more good news before Navratri
“We want a major part of the remaining recommendation to be cleared before vacation. You give us some more good news before Navratri,” the bench told the AG while posting the case for further consideration to October 20.
The court said the government should not sit on the recommendations and should clear it in a time-bound manner. It said that judiciary should not be compelled to intervene and direct the government to clear the names. It said that government can refer the name back for reconsideration if it has objections. “Sometimes we also make mistakes. No one is infallible and sometimes we have also recalled names,” the bench said.
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Senior advocates Arvind Datar and Prashant Bhushan submitted that the Centre was violating the apex court’s order by not clearing the names that had been reiterated by the collegium. They impressed upon the court to pass the order as 10 names, which were reiterated by the SC collegium, have not been cleared by the government. The bench, however, said there is a way to push the matter and it would examine it on the next date of hearing on the basis of progress made by the government in the next 10 days.
“I am very polite and let me be polite,” Justice Kaul told the AG, hinting that the government should perform its duty without delay and not force the court to intervene in the matter of appointment of judges in the higher judiciary.
The issue of appointment of judges has witnessed a tug-of-war between the Centre and the judiciary with the government attacking the collegium system and saying that it should also have a say in the process.