The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that it has cleared 34 names out of the 77 recommended by the collegium for appointment as judges in various high courts in the country.
The government also apprised the bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur that as of now no file with regard to the recommendations for appointment as judges is pending with it.
“Out of total 77 names, 34 names have been cleared for the appointment and rest 43 recommendations have been sent back to the apex court collegium for reconsideration,” Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, told the bench which also comprised justices Shiva Kirti Singh and L Nageswara Rao.
Rohatgi said the Centre has already sent the fresh draft Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for consideration of the collegium on August 3, this year, but so far no response has been received by the government.
The bench then said that it would convene a meeting of the collegium, which comprises four senior judges besides CJI, on 15 November.
It has now fixed the PIL filed by 1971 war veteran Lieutenant Colonel Anil Kabotra, a former Army official, on the issue for further hearing on 19 November.
The apex court had earlier rapped the government for delay in appointments to higher judiciary despite recommendations made by the collegium in this regard and had said the entire institution cannot be brought to a grinding halt.
Maintaining that the appointment process “cannot be stalled” due to non-finalisation of the MoP, the court had criticised the tardy progress in processing files pertaining to judges’ appointment and even warned that it may summon the Secretaries of the PMO and the Ministry of Law and Justice to ascertain the factual position.
The Attorney General had said that non-finalisation of the MoP was one of the issues and had assured the bench that more progress will be seen in the near future on the appointment of judges.
(With inputs from PTI)