Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 17
Denying allegations that it was responsible for delay in appointment of judges, the central government on Monday sought to shift the blame on the collegium saying the latter took too much time in clearing names for appointments.
During hearing on a petition on a transfer petition from Odisha where lawyers were on strike in several districts demanding circuit Benches of the high court in other parts of the state—Attorney General KK Venugopal told a Bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul the government took 127 days in clearing a recommendation while Supreme Court’s Collegium took 119 days on an average. So far around 80 proposals are pending with the top court collegium, he said.
During the hearing, the Attorney General said the attempt to correct the appointment system failed after the Supreme Court declared NJAC unconstitutional in 2015.
“Neither you nor we can re-open the issue (NJAC). What prevents you from bringing a new law on it?” the Bench said.
“We can pass one more amendment if you want,” Venugopal responded.
As he said high courts across India had not even recommended the names for appointment of judges for 199 out of 396 vacancies, the Bench asked the registrars general of all the high courts to explain in four weeks the current vacancy position as also the vacancies likely to arise in coming months. It wanted to know the time required by high courts for making recommendations to fill judicial vacancies.
“The effort should be on how to make the system better,” the Bench said posting the matter for hearing on March 21.
To a question from the Bench as to why so much time was taken by the government after receiving IB report, Venugopal said: “Suppose there is an adverse IB report, we have to verify it. We cannot blindly forward it. See the number of days taken by the Supreme Court Collegium after a recommendation is made”.
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