Much still to be done: Supreme Court to government on judges’ appointment | India News

NEW DELHI: The swift decisions taken by the Centre in the past 10 days in

Feb 13, 2023 - 21:54
 44936
Much still to be done: Supreme Court to government on judges’ appointment | India News
Much still to be done: Supreme Court to government on judges’ appointment | India News

NEW DELHI: The swift decisions taken by the Centre in the past 10 days in clearing some of the collegium recommendations for appointment as judges in high courts and seven judges in the Supreme Court did not satisfy the apex court, which said on Monday that "much is still required to be done" and expressed concern over "selective" clearance of names of judges.
The Centre and the SC have been engaged in a tug of war with the former expressing reservations against the collegium system of appointments in higher judiciary and instead pitching for a say in the process.
The apex court, on the other hand, has been passing a slew of directions to push the Centre to take time-bound decisions on recommendations made by the collegium and set a time-frame which was not there earlier.
On the last hearing on February 3, the court had asked the Centre not to compel it to take a "hard and unpalatable" decision as the government was not approving SC collegium recommendations for transfer of HC judges, appointment of chief justices and judges of HCs and seven names recommended for elevation to the apex court. In the last ten days, the governemnt appointed seven judges in SC and CJs in Gujarat, Gauhati, Tripura and J&K and Ladakh High Courts. But the Centre did not take decision on transfer of eight HC judges and the Chief Justice of Orissa HC despite the court earlier reminding the government that it has a very limited role in transfer of judges.
Referring to the recent decisions taken by the Centre in the last 10 days, a bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Manoj Misra and Aravind Kumar noted that some developments took place but said that much is still required to be done.
Senior advocate Arvind Datar and lawyer Amit Pai, appearing for the petitioner who filed a contempt plea for delay in appointments, brought to the court's notice that the government did not take decision on transfer of HC judges and reiterated names for judgeship in HC had not been accepted by the governemnt. They also said that the Centre is segregating collegium recommendations and selectively clearing the names .
Prashant Bhushan flagged the issue of the Centre allegedly selectively picking names out of collegium recommendations for approval and pleaded that it had been going on endlessly and court should take exception to it. "We are also concerned. There are more than one issue involved. We are equally concerned about if not more," the bench observed. The court, however, refrained from passing the order as attorney general R Venkataramani was not available in court and the Centre sought adjournment in the case.
While allowing Centre's plea for adjournment, the bench told the government, "Please make sure that most of what is expected of you is done before the next hearing". The court posted the case to March 2 for hearing.
The apex court in its last hearing had observed that the government had a very limited role in the matter of transfer of judges and delay on its part in taking decisions was giving an impression of third party sources interfering on behalf of these judges with the government. It hinted that in case of further delay, the transferee judges would not be given judicial work.
"It is troubling us. This is very very serious, more serious than anything else. We will have to make a difficult decision. Do not make us take a hard stand," the bench had told the AG who sought 10 more days time. The court had said any further delay "may result in both administrative and judicial actions which may not be palatable".