‘I have the data’: Supreme Court on delay in appointments of high court judges

Sep 26, 2023 05:09 PM IST

The Supreme Court questioned the Centre about the non-clearance of names of judges of various High Courts recommended by the Collegium.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reiterated its concern over the delays in the appointments of judges in various high courts. The bench comprising justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia remarked that nothing had happened in the last seven months since it last heard the plea, ANI reported.

The Supreme Court of India(HT File Photo)
The Supreme Court of India(HT File Photo)

According to the report, the court asked the Centre about the ‘non-clearance’ of names of judges of various high courts recommended by the collegium.

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According to a report by legal website Bar and Bench, Justice Kaul remarked that there are 26 transfers pending, along with the appointment of a chief justice at a ‘sensitive’ high court. “Nine are pending without being returned, I have the data”, Justice Kaul was reported by the website as saying while hearing a petition against the Centre for keeping pending the Collegium-recommended names of judges for appointment in the various High Courts.

According to the report, the ‘sensitive’ high court being referred to by the court is likely to be of Manipur, which has been witnessing violence since May. Justice Siddharth Mridul of Delhi high court was recommended to be appointed as Manipur high court chief justice on July 5.

During the hearing, lawyer Prashant Bhushan claimed that potential candidates were withdrawing their names from candidature due to delay in appointments.

During the hearing, senior lawyer Arvind Datar argued that delay in appointment of judges were not only ‘detrimental’ to legal profession but also ‘embarrassing’ to candidates.

The top court said it was withholding comments as the Attorney General of India requested a week's time to get instructions on the matter. Last year, the top court had observed that the seniority of judges was affected as the Centre adopted a policy of ‘picking and choosing persons’ from the names recommended by the collegium.

The apex court had further lamented that the delay in the process of appointment was resulting in the best of first-generation lawyers declining to be part of the bench.

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