With the Supreme Court tearing into the government for disrupting the functioning of the judiciary by delaying appointments of high court judges, the Congress party on Saturday called on the Centre to take a call on the issue immediately as it was denying people justice by keeping these positions vacant. Branding the entire series of developments as utterly serious, Congress party leader Anand Sharma told ANI here that the Narendra Modi-led Centre cannot escape its responsibility and accountability, adding that it was an “alterable” situation that 456 positions of high court judges are vacant in the country.
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“One year was lost because this matter was before the Constitution bench, but after December 2015, the government has been dragging its feet. Non agreement on a supplement Memorandum of Procedure for appointment of judges cannot be an excuse for keeping these positions vacant and denying people access to justice and undermining the justice delivery system,” Sharma said.
He further pointed a finger at the government, saying that it has a lot to answer to the nation as there is an existing Memorandum of Procedure under which these appointments can take place.
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The tussle between the Centre and the judiciary over appointment of judges went to the next level when Chief Justice T S Thakur criticized the government by saying, “Why don’t you lock the courts and lock out justice? Executive inaction is decimating the institution.”
“In the Karnataka HC, an entire floor of courts is locked because there are no judges. Once we had a situation where we had judges but no court rooms, but now, there are courtrooms and no judges,” Chief Justice Thakur told Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi.
The court has asked the government to resolve and get back to it on November 11, the next date of hearing.
The Centre and the apex court have been at war since the Supreme Court struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, which was brought in to end more than 20-year-old practice of appointing judges via the collegium system, with the government having no say in the process.