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BREAKING - Collegium Recommendations Pending With Centre For Over 6 Months Will Be Decided Within 3 Months, AG Tells Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
15 April 2021 7:57 AM GMT
BREAKING - Collegium Recommendations Pending With Centre For Over 6 Months Will Be Decided Within 3 Months, AG Tells Supreme Court
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The Centre will decide within 3 months the recommendations made by the Supreme Court collegium which have been pending with the Ministry for over 6 months, the Attorney General for India told the Supreme Court on Thursday.The AG said that a decision on these pending names will be taken and communicated to the Supreme Court collegium within a period of three months.A bench comprising Chief...

The Centre will decide within 3 months the recommendations made by the Supreme Court collegium which have been pending with the Ministry for over 6 months, the Attorney General for India told the Supreme Court on Thursday.

The AG said that a decision on these pending names will be taken and communicated to the Supreme Court collegium within a period of three months.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Surya Kant recorded this submission made by the AG in its order.

On the last hearing date, March 25, the bench had required the AG to make a statement on the time required to clear the collegium recommendations which have been pending Centre's decision.

During the hearing today, the bench also asked the AG about the time-line within which the Centre will decide the collegium proposals.

"This case can be brought to a reasonable conclusion if the Centre tells us the time line which it will adhere to at each stage", CJI told the AG.

In response, the AG said that a time-line needs to be fixed for the High Courts. He said that the Centre has not received recommendations from High Courts for 220 vacancies.

"Government feels that a time line has to be fixed for the High Courts to make recommendations", the AG said.

"We will take care of the HCs as regards the timeline for them. We are asking about the time line which you will voluntarily follow", the CJI responded.

"The High Courts have to follow a time line", the AG reiterated.

At this juncture, Justice SK Kaul interjected and said, "There are two timelines. One for the Govt and another for the HC. The Chief Justice says he will deal with the High Court timelines. As regards the time line for the Govt, you tells us on the next date".

"We are only asking us to tell us the timeline within which the Govt and Judiciary will cooperate", the CJI said.

The AG replied that the Memorandum of Procedure will be followed as regards the time-line. He said that the MoP does not fix the time-line for the Prime Minister or the President and added that they will act within a "reasonable period".

The bench will further consider the aspect of timeline on the next hearing date.

The AG has filed a statement in the Court saying that recommendations have not been received from the High Courts for  220 vacancies (which is nearly 50% of vacancies).

The AG made the statement in the the case PLR Projects Ltd vs Mahanadi Coalfields Pvt Ltd, which is a transfer petition in 2019 seeking to transfer to Supreme Court a case from the Orissa High Court on account of the lawyers strike there. While considering the case, the Supreme Court had delved into the issue of pendency of collegium recommendations at the Ministry level.

In December 2019, a bench comprising Justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph had passed an order in the case stating that the persons recommended by the High Court collegium, which are approved by the Supreme Court Collegium and the Government, should be appointed within 6 months.
On an earlier hearing of the case in 2019, the bench had commented that nearly 40% sanctioned posts of High Court judges were lying vacant, and urged the Attorney General to take steps to expedite the appointment process.

"…The convention laid down is that an endeavour should be made that recommendations for vacancies are sent six months in advance. This is an aspect which the Chief Justices of the High Courts would look into. This period of six months arises from the expectation that the said period would be enough for processing the names from the recommendation stage till appointment.

Thus, sending names six months in advance would be meaningful only if the process till appointment is complete within six months which is a work the Government must attend to", the bench had said in an order passed in November 2019.

On the last date of hearing, March 25, the bench comprising CJI Bobde, Justices SK Kaul and Surya Kant observed that the Union Law Ministry must clear the collegium recommendations within a reasonable time period.






















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