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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Unelected SC Collegium insists on pushing its recommendations down the elected govt’s throat

The Supreme Court on Friday said that it will have to “unstuck” the Collegium recommendations stuck with the Centre for the appointment of judges.

A bench comprising Justices S.K. Kaul, Sudhanshu Dhulia and Manoj Misra noted that five reiterated names, five fresh names and eleven files relating to transfer are still pending with the Union government.  

The bench remarked that the recent notifications issued by the Centre acting swiftly on Collegium recommendations is a “positive development” and took note of the submission advanced by the Centre that the matters are being “sorted out”.

Additional Solicitor General Balbir Singh, who appeared for the Union government, sought a period of two-three weeks. 

Acceding to the request made by the law officer, the apex court posted the matter for further hearing in the second week of November, 2023. 

However, it expressed its concern saying that notifying selective names disturbs the order of seniority contained in the Collegium recommendation and resultantly “meritorious lawyers often back out”.

The Supreme Court had said that it will take up the issue of 70 pending Collegium recommendations for the next two months at regular intervals.

After push from the apex court, the Union law ministry had forwarded a large number of pending recommendations from high courts to the SC Collegium. The Centre had also cleared different files relating to appointment and transfer of judges in higher judiciary.

In the last hearing, the Supreme Court had said that there could not be “deemed appointment” of judges if the Centre delays in notifying recommendations made by the Collegium. 

It had said that it cannot pass directions in the nature of a writ of mandamus to the President to sign warrants appointing or transferring judges in the higher judiciary.

The batch of pleas seek contempt action against the Union government over delays in notifying appointment of judges after recommendations are forwarded by the Collegium. 

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)

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