SC to hear plea alleging delay in clearing names recommended by Collegium


New Delhi: The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Monday two pleas on the issue of alleged delay by the Centre in clearing names recommended by the Collegium for appointment of judges to the apex court and the high courts.

While hearing the matter on February 3, a bench headed by Justice S K Kaul had expressed displeasure over the delay in clearing recommendations for the transfer of high court judges, calling it a “very serious issue”.

Attorney General R Venkataramani had on February 3 assured the top court that the Collegium’s recommendation of December last year for the elevation of five judges to the apex court will be cleared soon.

On February 6, five judges – Justices Pankaj Mithal, Sanjay Karol, P V Sanjay Kumar, Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Manoj Misra – were administered the oath of office as apex court judges.

Two new top court judges – Justices Rajesh Bindal and Aravind Kumar – will be administered the oath of office by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud on February 13.

Once these two judges will take oath, the top court will achieve its full strength of 34 judges, including the CJI, after a gap of nine months.

Meanwhile, four judges, including two who will retire later this month, were on Sunday appointed as chief justices of high courts.

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

During the February 3 hearing in the apex court, advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for one of the petitioners, had flagged the issue of names reiterated by the Collegium not being cleared by the government.

During the earlier hearing in the matter on January 6, the attorney general told the apex court that all efforts were being made to “conform” to the timelines laid down by it for processing the names recommended by the Collegium for appointment of judges to constitutional courts.

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

In the 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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( With inputs from )

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