SC to hear on Oct 9 pleas alleging delay in clearing names recommended by collegium

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

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

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia is scheduled to hear the pleas on October 9.

While hearing the matter on September 26, the apex court had voiced dismay over the “delay” in the appointment of judges and asked Attorney General R Venkataramani to use his office to resolve the issue.

“There were 80 recommendations pending until last week when 10 names were cleared. Now, the figure is 70, of which 26 recommendations are of transfer of judges, seven are reiterations, nine are pending without being returned to the collegium and one case is of appointment of the Chief Justice to a sensitive high court,” the bench had said.

All these recommendations are pending since November last year, it had said.

The attorney general had sought a week’s time to come back with instructions on the pending recommendations for appointment to the high courts.

“Today, I am quiet because the attorney general has sought a very short time, next time I will not be quiet. Use your good office to see these issues are resolved,” Justice Kaul had told Venkataramani during the hearing.

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

On February 13, the top court had told the Centre to make sure that “most of what is expected is done” on issues concerning the appointment and transfer of judges as recommended by the apex court collegium.

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

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

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