Amid a row between the Centre and the collegium headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur over the procedure relating to the appointment of judges, the CJI on Saturday said appointments should not be delayed.
Speaking at a meeting in the presence of Union law minister DV Sadananda Gowda, Thakur said the process of appointments must go on as a delay would deprive people of their fundamental right of access to justice.
“It is fundamental right of a citizen to access justice and if you are not to appoint judges, you are actually depriving people of their fundamental right .That is something totally unacceptable,” said Thakur at the inauguration of the 14th All India meet of state legal services authorities here.
The CJI said that 130 names recommended from various high courts were in the process with the law ministry. “I am sure the law minister is going to process those because he realises that while we are open to improvement of whatever the procedural angle is, the process of appointments must go on.”
This assumes significance in the wake of reports that the appointments recommended by collegium are held up due to differences over a clause in the Memorandum of Procedure for the selection of judges.
The CJI said the judicial system is under great pressure due to vacancies and a large number of pending cases but noted that the government realises this. “We have today something like 450 vacancies in the high courts to be filled up. This year there will be another 50, which will take the total number to 500,” he said.