Assuring that it would adhere to the timeline fixed by the Supreme Court regarding approval of names recommended by the Collegium for appointment as Judges in various High Courts across the country, as well as the Supreme Court, the Central government on Friday said that it would clear 44 names by tomorrow.
Appearing for the Union of India, Attorney General R. Venkatramani apprised the Bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Abhay S. Oka that out of 104 recommendations pending approval before the Union government, 44 would be cleared by January 7 (Saturday) iiself.
Regarding the 10 recommendations made for the Rajasthan High Court, the AG said he was personally looking into the matter and that the same would be processed shortly.
Out of these 10, eight were sent by the Collegium on November 25, 2022, while two were sent in October, 2021.
Regarding the five names sent for elevation to the Supreme Court, the AG sought deferment on the matter, which was granted by the top court of the country.
The AG said that he had some inputs regarding the five recommendations, but would rather not discuss it, since he had a different opinion on the matter.
The Apex Court then recorded in its order that regarding the five recommendations to this Court, the Attorney General has submitted that he was personally looking into the matter and needed time for the same, which has been granted.
Justice Kaul next asked the AG about three recommendations pending before the Centre regarding appointment of Chief Justice in the High Courts of Jharkhand, Gauhati and Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
The top court of the country said that there would be vacancies of Chief Justices, which could not be filled, since the elevation of three judges to the post was pending before the Centre.
It further asked the AG regarding 10 names of judges sent for transfer across various High Courts of the country. Stating that the government had a very limited role in this, the Apex Court observed that keeping the transfer list pending sent a very wrong signal and was unacceptable to the Collegium.
The top court of the country said in the order that two names for transfer were sent in September, 2022 and eight were sent in November last year.
It observed that the transfer of judges in various High Courts across the country was done in the interest of administration of justice. Exceptions apart, there was no reason for the government to delay the process.
The Bench noted that while recommending the judges’ names for transfer, the Collegium sought consultation from the judges concerned, besides obtaining their comments. Further, at the request of the judge concerned, an alternative bench was also assigned for the purpose. After completion of this process, a recommendation was sent to the government.
The top court of the country ruled that delay in approval by the Centre hinted at interference, not just with the administration of justice, but also third party interference in the recommendation.
Regarding the categorisation of the transferred judge, the Supreme Court said that the Chief Justice of the court where a judge is to be transferred, should decide whether the transferred judge is categorised as from the bar or the service.