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Pending Collegium recommendations: Supreme Court rebukes Centre, says will follow up case every 10 days

The Supreme Court on Tuesday once again came down heavily on the Central government for not clearing 70 recommendations made by the Supreme Court Collegium on appointment and transfer of various High Court judges.

The Bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia, while hearing a petition filed by the Advocates Association of Bengaluru, noted that 70 recommendations made by the Supreme Court Collegium from November 11, 2022 were pending with the Union government. 

The Apex Court directed Attorney General R. Venkataramani, appearing for the Central government, to take instructions from the Union of India with respect to the High Court recommendations made at least until the end of April this year. 

It further sought Centre’s reply on why the Union government was sitting on the nine new recommendations, along with seven other names, which had been reiterated by the Collegium for judgeship in constitutional courts. These included appointment of one Chief Justice of a ‘sensitive’ High Court and 26 transfer proposals.

The top court of the country further noted that till four days ago, 80 files were pending with the Union government, out of which, it cleared 10. 

So, the present figure stood at 70, the Apex Court pointed out, noting that nothing happened in the past seven months since it heard the case and passed an order. 

The AG sought one-week time to seek instructions on the matter. The top court of the country granted time to the AG and listed the matter for further hearing on October 9.

The petition filed by AAB sought contempt action against the Union Ministry of Law and Justice for not adhering to the timeline set by the Court in a 2021 judgement for clearing collegium proposals. 

A writ petition filed by the NGO Common Cause raising the issue of delay in judicial appointments was also listed along with the contempt petition.

(Case title: Advocates Association Bengaluru vs Barun Mitra And Anr)

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