SC slams Centre over delay in appointment of judges, says ‘don’t force us to pass orders’
The Supreme Court today came down heavily on the Centre over the delay in appointment of judges and accused it of “sitting over the decision”.
Expressing unhappiness over Centre's failure to implement the collegium's decision on transfer and appointment of judges and Chief Justices of High Courts, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur asked Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi to seek instructions from the government in this regard.
“Don't force us to pass orders to remove this logjam,” the CJI said, adding that "the collegium has cleared 75 names of High Court judges (for transfer/ appointment) but they have not been approved. I don't know why, where these files are stuck."
"Why there is mistrust? Judges who have been transferred by the collegium have not been transferred. We don't want all this," the bench also comprising justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said.
Slamming the Centre, Justice Thakur said that the government is the biggest litigant but it “blames courts for not doing their work well”.
“You can't leave a situation where courts are allowed to be shut down. Accessibility to courts can’t be allowed to a grinding halt. Tell us where the files are. There has to be some accountability. If you have any problems with the names, send it back. Collegium can consider. You can't sit over files and not process the recommendations,” he said.
"I will take it up at the highest level and will come back to the court," Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the bench and pleaded that no notice be issued for the time being on the PIL filed by 1971 war veteran Lieutenant Colonel Anil Kabotra on the issue.
During the brief hearing, the bench referred to the rising vacancies of judges in the high courts and the increasing number of pending cases.
"The vacancy in High Courts has risen to 43 per cent and there are four million cases in the high courts. The whole system is collapsing," the bench said.
Earlier in April this year, the CJI broke down at a meeting in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, lamenting government's "inaction" in increasing the number of judges from the present 21,000 to 40,000 to handle the "avalanche" of litigations.