The Supreme Court. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
The Supreme Court. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

SC asks Centre to fix timeline for judicial appointments: All you need to know

The court said there were 189 proposals regarding appointments pending with the government as on December 31
By HT Correspondent
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2021 11:07 AM IST

The Supreme Court on Wednesday urged the Centre to set a fixed timeline for clearing appointments of judges to the higher judiciary after receiving the recommendations of the collegium. Here is all you need to know about the matter:

• The request came even as a new memorandum of procedure (MoP) on judicial appointments is pending for almost four years.

• The court said there were 189 proposals regarding appointments pending with the government as on December 31.

• It added certain proposals remain pending before the government for over six months.

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• A bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said that all endeavours should be made to ensure appointments come through in a time-bound manner.

• Of 1,079 posts of judges in the high courts, 411 are vacant.

• The vacancies accounted for over a third of the total positions as of January 1.

• In 2015, the top court struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act and the 99th Constitutional Amendment, which sought to give the executive a say in the appointment of judges.

• This judgment held that judicial appointments will be carried on by the recommendations of the collegium, which comprises the CJI and four other most senior Supreme Court judges.

• The court had said that a new MoP should be put in place in consultation with the government to guide all future appointments of judges.

• A draft MoP was sent by the collegium to the Union law ministry in March 2017, but the government returned it, suggesting certain improvements.

• Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told Lok Sabha in March 2020 that the government’s suggestions have remained pending with the top court.

• The new MoP on eligibility criteria and a timeline for judicial appointments awaits finalisation.

• The Supreme Court on Wednesday called it a “matter of great concern” that the collegium had not heard from the government for months together after making some recommendations.

• It said a proposal would get stuck without knowing the reason whether the government had any objection to a certain name or there were other issues.

• Around a dozen names for appointments to high courts of Allahabad and Bombay have been pending since May and June last year.

• The court said even a proposal to appoint some government lawyers as judges had not been cleared expeditiously.

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