Fast tracking the appointment of high court judges following apex court rap, the government has cleared 10 names for the Delhi and the Gauhati high courts even as it set in motion the process for the Supreme Court collegium to consider names for eight others as judges.
The five appointments for Delhi High Court are from the judicial service while the five for Gauhati High Court are both from the bar and the state judicial service. The files have been sent to the Rashtrapati Bhawan for final nod.
The nod may come by this weekend following which notifications will be issued. The Delhi High Court has an approved strength of 60 but is functioning with 34 judges — a shortage of 26.
Yesterday, the Law Ministry is learnt to have forwarded eight other names of advocates recommended by the Delhi High Court collegium for appointment as high court judges for the consideration of the SC collegium.
As per the established practice, the government receives recommendations from the HC collegium, gets them vetted by the Intelligence Bureau and forwards them to the SC collegium for consideration. The government is also considering recommendations for 35 judges in Allahabad High Court, eight of which have been pending since January.
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In a scathing attack, the Supreme Court had on Friday said the government cannot bring the judiciary to a “grinding halt” by not appointing high court judges despite the recommendations of its collegium long ago and said it could as well close the courts and lock “justice out”.
“You cannot bring the entire institution (of judiciary) to a grinding halt. If there is a problem with the name of a person, please send it back and ask us to reconsider,” a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur told Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, representing the Centre.