THE GOVERNMENT on Friday informed the Supreme Court that it has returned 43 out of 77 names preferred by collegium for appointment as judges in the High Courts, raising objections against their elevation.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India T S Thakur was informed by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi that while 34 appointments have been done, 43 names have been sent back to the collegium. “So as on date, there is not a single file pending with us,” the AG submitted.
The government’s submission came even as the CJI has said repeatedly that the collegium in the Supreme Court has been very careful with clearing the names for appointments as judges in high courts and around 50 per cent of names had been dropped to ensure nobody could raise a finger on the choices. But the government, with a string of objections, has sent back 43 names to the collegium for reconsideration.
After being apprised by the AG of the situation, the bench said that it would verify from the records and take up the matter next week.
The AG also pointed out that the new Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) was yet to be framed and that the government had not heard from the apex court collegium after it sent a revised draft on August 3. The bench responded that it would look into it and some development might take place before the next date of hearing.
On the last date of hearing of a batch of petitions on delay in appointments of judges, the bench had questioned if the central government wanted the entire judicial system to be “locked out”.
The top court said that it “cannot allow the executive to decimate the system” by what it called was its “inaction, inefficiency or unwillingness” to appoint judges.
Lashing out at the government for sitting over the files of judges’ appointments despite clearance by the collegium nine months ago, the bench had said that the government can neither “scuttle the working of the institution” nor be allowed “to bring the entire system to a grinding halt”. The AG had then sought some time to seek instructions and revert on the status of appointments.