The Supreme Court’s firm stance on judges’ appointments, titled “Lots To Say, But…”.

In a potential clash between the Executive and Judiciary regarding judges’ appointments, the Supreme Court raised questions today about why the central government has not yet forwarded high court recommendations to the Collegium. Responding to petitions alleging the government’s delay in approving names, a bench consisting of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia expressed its close monitoring of the situation. Justice Kaul pointed out that 80 names from high courts have been pending for ten months, emphasizing the need for the government’s perspective so that the Collegium can make decisions.

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The bench highlighted the pending transfer of 26 judges and the appointment of a Chief Justice in a “sensitive high court.”

Justice Kaul mentioned his awareness of the number of pending names recommended by high courts but not yet received by the Collegium.

Attorney General R Venkatramani requested a week to respond, which the bench extended to two weeks and instructed him to return with the Centre’s submission. The matter will be heard on October 9.

In a strong statement, Justice Kaul hinted at his desire to express more but refrained, awaiting the Attorney General’s response. However, he asserted that he would not remain silent in the future.

The appointment of judges has been a contentious issue between the Supreme Court and the Executive, with government officials advocating for a role in the selection process.

In October 2015, the Supreme Court invalidated the National Judicial Appointments Act, which granted the Executive a more significant role in appointing judges.

The dispute between the Executive and Judiciary resurfaced last year when Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar commented on how the Supreme Court’s ruling had “undone” the law. In response, the court reaffirmed the Collegium system as the “law of the land” that must be strictly followed, regardless of public opinions against it.

Under the Collegium system, the Chief Justice of India and senior judges recommend candidates for high courts and the Supreme Court. After center clearance, the President makes the appointments.

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