SC to hear on Monday pleas alleging delay by Centre in clearing names recommended by Collegium

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Monday two petitions, including one alleging a delay on the Centre’s part in clearing the names recommended by the collegium for appointment and transfer of judges.

A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sudhanshu Dhulia and Sandeep Mehta is slated to hear the matter on Monday.

While hearing the pleas on November 7, the apex court said it was “troublesome” that the Centre was selectively picking, choosing and appointing judges whose names were recommended by the collegium for appointment to the higher judiciary.

It had also expressed concern over the pendency of names recommended for transfer from one high court to another.

“The pendency of transfer matters is an issue of great concern as it has been selectively done. The attorney general submits that the issue is being taken up by him with the government,” the bench had said.

“We have emphasised to him again that once these people are already appointed as judges, where they perform judicial duties should not really be a matter of concern to the government and we hope that a situation would not come to pass where this court or the collegium has to take a decision which would not be palatable,” it had said.

The top court had said 14 recommendations were pending with the government to which there has been no response.

It had also said there were five names pending either after a second-time reiteration or otherwise for quite some time and this issue was also required to be addressed.

“The attorney general requests for some time to have a fruitful discussion on this behalf with the government,” the bench had noted in its November 7 order.

The appointment of judges through the collegium system has often become a major flashpoint between the Supreme Court and the Centre, with the mechanism drawing criticism from different quarters.

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The top court is hearing the petitions, including one filed by the Advocates’ Association, Bengaluru, seeking contempt action against the Union Ministry of Law and Justice for allegedly not adhering to the timeline set by the court in a 2021 judgment.

One of the pleas has alleged “wilful disobedience” of the time-frame laid down by the apex court in its April 20, 2021 order to facilitate a timely appointment of judges.

In that order, the court had said the Centre should appoint judges within three-four weeks if the collegium reiterates its recommendations unanimously.

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