TIMELINES FIXED BY SC FOR JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS

  • Attorney-General R. Venkataramani told the Supreme Court on Friday that the Union government will adhere to the timelines fixed by the court to process recommendations for judicial appointments.
  • The government’s statement seems to be a step down from its earlier view that it was not a “post office” to clear Collegium recommendations.
  • The court had remarked in an earlier hearing that the government, miffed by the striking down of the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) law in 2015, was deliberately delaying appointments and remaining incommunicado on Collegium recommendations.
  • “We cannot pick and choose if the judgment [NJAC] is aligned with the government’s views and decide to enforce it or not.
  • We enforce the law [Collegium system] as it exists. I have said if you want to bring in a better system, nothing prevents the legislature from doing it.
  • But every system has its pluses and minuses. Nobody says this is a perfect system. Nor can a replacement system be perfect. Ultimately people operate these systems…
  • The issue needs to be resolved. It is not a healthy situation… I will be out of the system in a year. My grave concern is are we creating an environment where meritorious people hesitate to give consent to offers of judgeships
  • Justice Kaul said the government should not be guided by political affiliations, personal philosophy and cases in which an individual had appeared as a lawyer while considering names for judgeships.
  • Venkataramani agreed there had to be a “fusion between two different points of views” and friction should be avoided.
  • He said the government would be likely processing 44 names for High Court judgeships and forwarding them to the Supreme Court Collegium over the weekend.
  • Various High Courts had forwarded to the government 104 names for judgeships. A 2021 judgment of the top court had given the timeline of a maximum 18 weeks for the government to process the names forwarded to the Law Ministry by the High Courts and send them to the Supreme Court Collegium for final approval.
  • Venkataramani, however, sought more time to “look into” the pending Collegium recommendations of five judges to the Supreme Court.
  • “But these recommendations should not take time on your part to clear. They are Chief Justices and senior judges of the High Courts after all,” Justice Kaul addressed the top law officer for the government.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

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