Backing the Supreme Court over the strong language it used against the Centre for delaying the appointment of judges to various high courts across the country, senior apex court advocate K T S Tulsi has said the government cannot shut down or eliminate the judiciary. “I am glad that Supreme Court has used strong language today and the government should take note. You just can’t shut down the judiciary, you can’t eliminate judiciary and this is a basic structure and rule of law. The laws got to be interpreted by Judiciary and enforced by the executive,” he said.
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“You simply can’t wish away the judiciary, as more than 50 percent of the posts are vacant. Courts are getting locked up one after the other. Why does the government not wake up and take a decision,” he added.
Taking strong stand on the inordinate delay in the appointment of judges to various high courts across the country, the Supreme Court on Friday said it cannot sit over a situation where executive inaction is decimating the judiciary.
Expressing its anguish over the government’s tardy process, a bench headed by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur said it has been very patient and tolerant so far, and warned that government inaction is scuttling the process of judicial appointments.
“We are not trying to be adversarial, but want cordiality to continue, the apex court bench said.
Noting that courtrooms across the country are being locked because of a lack of judges, the bench said the collegium has made various recommendations for the appointment of judges, but the government is sitting on them.
The collegium proposes names after due deliberations and vetting, but in some cases recommended names have seen no movement from the government for over nine months, the apex court bench said.
Stating that the government is free to express its reservations, the bench said the government must return the names to the collegium instead of sitting on them. The apex court has fixed the matter for further hearing on November 11.
The apex court is particularly peeved over the pendency of 35 appointments that it had cleared for the Allahabad High Court, the first batch of eight on January 28, and the second for appointment of 27 judges in August, both of which are yet to be notified.
The Allahabad High Court is functioning with less than 50 percent of its strength with just 77 judges against an approved strength of 160.