The Supreme Court on Friday sought to take upon itself the onus for the alleged delay in appointment of High Court judges, saying that nearly 70 or 80 files are pending with its Collegium.
Steering clear of blaming the government for the alleged delay, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said, “As Chief Justice, I can tell that appointments are happening much faster now…. Whatever is pending is pending before the Supreme Court Collegium…. It is we who have not been able to clear the proposals for appointment of High Court judges.”
The bench, also comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna, was hearing a PIL by the NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL).
The plea alleged that the Centre has been “indefinitely sitting” on names recommended by the Collegium for appointment to the country’s higher judiciary. It argued that the government cannot “frustrate” the process of appointment of judges to the higher judiciary in “an oblique way”, and that this amounted to interference in the due process of law and independence and integrity of the
The CJI told Advocate Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for the NGO, that while 27 recommendations are currently pending before the Centre, about 70 to 80 are pending before the Collegium.
Bhushan contended that the pending proposals include nine that were reiterated by the Collegium. The court did not pass any order and ordered that the plea be listed after six weeks. “Having heard Prashant Bhushan, counsel appearing for the petitioner, we are of the view that the matter should await orders of the court at a later point of time,” the bench said in the order.
The plea sought direction to the Centre to notify appointment of judges whose names had been reiterated by the Collegium and sent to it.