An angry Supreme Court on Friday slammed the Narendra Modi government accusing it of “sitting over” judges’ appointments. In an unusually harsh tone, the apex court warned, “Don’t force us to pass orders to remove this logjam.”
A three-judge bench led by the Chief Justice of India, Justice TS Thakur, told the government that since February, 75 names had been recommended as high court judges but none had been approved.
“The collegium has cleared 75 names of high court judges (for transfer/ appointment) but they have not been approved. I don’t know why, where these files are stuck,” a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur said while hearing a PIL on the issue.
“Why there is mistrust? Judges who have been transferred by the collegium have not been transferred. We don’t want all this,” the bench also comprising justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said.
“I will take it up at the highest level and will come back to the court,” Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the bench and pleaded that no notice be issued for the time being on the PIL filed by 1971 war veteran Lieutenant Colonel Anil Kabotra on the issue.
According to a report by NDTV, Justice Thakur told the government: “You can’t leave a situation where courts are allowed to be shut down. Accessibility to courts can’t be allowed to come to a grinding halt. Tell us where the files are. There has to be some accountability. If you have any problems with the names, send it back. Collegium can consider. You can’t sit over files and not process the recommendations.”
During the brief hearing, the bench referred to the rising vacancies of judges in the high courts and the increasing number of pending cases.
“The vacancy in high courts has risen to 43 per cent and there are four million cases in the high courts. The whole system is collapsing,” the bench said.
(With PTI inputs)