The government expects to finish the process of appointing and transferring 75 judges – whose names were cleared by the Supreme Court collegium till July – within the next two months, a top source has said.
The appointment and transfer process involves 24 high courts across the country.
“There are no files pending with the ministry. The appointments are in process and should be completed within two months,” said the senior official in the law and justice ministry.
The source said that for a majority of the pending vacancies, the high court collegiums were yet to send names to the ministry to start the appointment process.
The names were cleared by the Supreme Court collegium – a body of five senior-most judges led by the Chief Justice of India – but are still pending.
This prompted the SC to question the government on the delay.
“The collegium has cleared 75 names of high court judges, but they have not been approved. I don’t know why, where these files are stuck,” a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice T.S. Thakur had said on August 12 while hearing a PIL on the vacancies.
A large batch of 15 judges is likely to be appointed by next week, sources said.
Last week, President Pranab Mukherjee had approved the elevation of five judges as chief justices in their respective high courts. Two judges were transferred in the first week of September.
Ministry sources said that out of 478 vacancies, recommendations have not been sent by the respective high court collegiums for over 280 vacancies to initiate the process.
In the last hearing in the Supreme Court on September 14, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi had argued that the delay was on part of the judiciary.