Collegium not govt at fault for vacancies in high courts: CJI Ranjan Gogoi tells petitioner
In what could serve as a defence of the government over appointment of judges in high courts, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Friday said the collegium has not been “able to clear the proposals” faster. CJI Gogoi said while 27 files are pending with the government, more than 70 are with the collegium that has to make the recommendation to the Centre for appointment of judges in high courts.
“Appointment of high court judges is being speedily cleared by the government. Only 27 recommendations for appointment of high court judges are pending with the Centre. The collegium is yet to decide on 70-80 proposals,” news agency ANI quoted CJI Gogoi as telling to senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for the petitioner.
The petition was filed by a non-governmental organisation (NGO), the Centre for PIL seeking speedy clearance of the names of lawyers and judges for the appointment in various high courts.
“It’s we who have not been able to clear the proposals for appointment of HC judges. As CJI I am telling you that appointments are taking place much faster now,” CJI Gogoi told Prashant Bhushan, according to ANI.
The government has faced severe criticism in public over delay in appointment of judges in the high courts. The appointment of judges in the higher courts was also a bone contention between the Centre and the Supreme Court, which, in 2015, struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act passed by Parliament.
The legislation was passed to replace the collegium system comprising senior Supreme Court judges for the appointment of judges. With vacancies rising in various courts, the government faced criticism from opposition and the legal experts who alleged that the Centre was deliberately delaying the appointment of judges.