The Central government has informed the Rajya Sabha that it has denied approval to 18 names recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium for appointment as judges.
Giving reply to CPI(M) leader John Brittas and Aam Aadmi Party leader Raghav Chadha during the Question Hour on Thursday, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said that 64 recommendations made by the Collegium were pending before the Union government for approval.
The first question in the Upper House sought to know the total number of proposals returned by the government to the Supreme Court Collegium during the last three years.
Rijiju said that as on January 31 this year, it had sent back 18 names, out of which the Collegium had reiterated six recommendations and sought further inputs from High Court Collegiums in seven names. Five names were remitted to the High Courts.
Regarding the recommendations pending approval from the government, the Law Minister disclosed that 64 recommendations were under various stages of processing.
He said that against the sanctioned strength of 1,108 judges in various High Courts, there were currently 775 judges, while 333 posts were vacant.
Out of 333 vacancies, 142 proposals recommended by the High Court Collegiums were at various stages of processing with the government, added the Minister.
He said 67 were in the process of being sent to the Supreme Court Collegium and 11 had been deferred by the Supreme Court Collegium.
The reply also discussed data on appointment of judges.
Rijiju said that during 2019 to January 2023, 22 judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court and 446 judges have been appointed to various High Courts.
He added that the government was committed to filling up the post of judges in the higher judiciary expeditiously.