The collegium’s insistence on appointing the 43 names returned is bound to result in confrontation.
New Delhi: In a move which will escalate into a confrontation between the judiciary and the executive, the Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur, heading the Supreme Court collegium informed the Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi on Friday that the collegium has reiterated the names of all 43 judges for the high courts which were returned by the law ministry for fresh reconsideration.
The CJI sitting with Justice Anil R. Dave told the AG “We (collegium) met last recently and we are reiterating all the names. The appointment may be made. We will give you three weeks. The recommendations were made by the high courts of Madras, Allahabad, Karnataka, Hyderabad for AP and Telangana and Kerala as early as in January and February this year. The Bench has posted the matter for further hearing in January and by then the Chief Justice T.S. Thakur may have retired. His retirement date is January 3, 2017.
Under the Memorandum of Procedure relating to appointment of Judges, if the collegium reiterates the names for the second time, the Centre is bound to accept them and forward to the President for appointment.
The new MoP is pending consideration with the apex court as it has refused to accept the government’s condition to have ‘veto power’ on appointments if the person recommended for judge is a ‘threat to national security’.
The collegium’s insistence on appointing the 43 names returned is bound to result in confrontation and there is a possibility of the government sitting over the names and putting them in cold storage as there is no limit for forwarding the names.
The Bench was hearing a PIL filed by Lt. Colonel (retd) Anil Kabotra and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyaya highlighting the problems of pendency of cases in various High Courts and the inordinate delay in appointing judges to fill the vacancies.
In the last hearing Centre had informed the CJI that not a single file is pending with the government; of the 77 names recommended we have appointed 34 persons and we have returned 43 names for your consideration. He also said that the draft MOP is pending with the collegium since August 3. Pending finalisation of MoP, the centre has cleared 311 names for appointment as judges.