On Thursday, the Supreme Court sought a response from Attorney General KK Venugopal when the Centre decided on 55 collegium recommendation High Court judgeships that have been pending for a long time.
A Bench comprising Hon’ble Justice SA Bobde, Hon’ble Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hon’ble Justice Surya Kant sought AG’s statement on April 8.
Hon’ble Justice Kaul informed AG that he had prepared a chart regarding the collegium recommendations’ pendency at the level of Ministry of Law and Justice and on an all India basis. He further observed that there has to be a reasonable time frame for the Law Ministry to respond after the collegium has made its recommendation.
In reply, the AG submitted that he would make the statement by April 8 (the next hearing).
These observations were made when the Bench was considering the instant case( PLR Projects Ltd vs Mahanadi Coalfields Pvt Ltd, wherein the Court considered pendency of recommendations.
In December 2019, a Division Bench comprising Hon’ble Justice SK Kaul and Hon’ble Justice KM Joseph had ordered that a person recommended by High Court Collegium approved by the Government and Supreme Court should be appointed within six months.
In the earlier hearing of the case, the Bench had commented that nearly forty per cent sanctioned posts of judges were vacant and urged the AG to expedite the appointment process.
The Bench further observed that the recommendations have to be made six months in advance as per conventions, but this process will only be fruitful if, within those six months, the Government should approve the name.