Criticised by the Chief Justice of India for sitting on files pertaining to appointment of judges, the central government, in the new Memorandum of Procedure (MoP), has proposed a deadline of six months to take final decisions on names recommended by the collegium.
This is the first time a timeline has been prescribed for finalising names for appointment as judges in high courts and the Supreme Court. The government has faced criticism for not sending the names back to the collegium with its approval or objection in time. No fresh proposal can be made by the collegium until a decision has been taken on the names already sent.
In the latest draft sent to the CJI on August 3, the government said that it is willing to fix an outer limit of six months to process judicial appointments. However, about a week after this proposal was sent, CJI T S Thakur lashed out at the government over the delay in appointment of judges and warned that they would “be forced to interfere judicially” to break the deadlock.
On August 12, hearing a PIL on shortage of judges and delay in filling up vacancies, a bench led by Justice Thakur had questioned the sense of “mistrust” and added that it may look into every file that was sent to the government by the collegium.
The collegium, headed by the CJI, is yet to respond to the Centre’s latest communication.
Sources told The Indian Express that there has been no deliberate attempt to delay judicial appointments.