The Supreme Court on Friday was informed by the Attorney General of India, R Venkataramani, that the Central Government will very soon clarify the pending recommendations forwarded by the Supreme Court Collegium in December 2022, to promote five High Court judges to the Supreme Court.
The AG, while replying to the queries raised by the Supreme Court, assured that by Sunday, the warrants of appointment for these judges will be issued.
A contempt petition was filed earlier by the Advocates Association Bengaluru against the Centre not adhering to the timeline for the judicial appointments. This petition was considered by a Bench comprising Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice A.S.Oka.
Justice Kaul informed the AG in the hearing that 5 names were proposed in December, and now it is February. A discussion was held between Justice Kaul and the AG in the hearing, and a request to issue the warrant was put forth. AG replied saying that the warrant has been sent to the President and the warrant is likely to be issued by today evening.
The Bench recorded in the order, as requested by Justice Kaul to have a record of the warrants issued:
“Learned Attorney General submits that so far as five recommendations made for appointment to the Supreme Court are concerned, the warrants will be issued within a maximum period of five days.”
The judge contended, “you said Sunday, we gave a longer leeway because sometimes there will be unexpected delays. When things have not been happening for years together, it might be necessary to specify a clear timeline.”
The AG sought time regarding the pending recommendations, for the appointments in High Court.
On December 13 last year, the Supreme Court Collegium recommended to the government to appoint:
Justice Pankaj Mithal, Chief Justice, Rajasthan High Court;
Justice Sanjay Karol, Chief Justice, Patna High Court;
Justice P V Sanjay Kumar, Chief Justice, Manipur High Court;
Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah of Patna High Court;
and Justice Manoj Misra of Allahabad High Court as apex court judges.
The bench expressed concerns regarding the transfer recommendations pending. In the hearing today, the bench showed its concern regarding the proposals for the transfer of judges, that are still pending with the Centre. Justice Kaul contended, “this is really troubling us. On the last occasion, the bench had observed that the delay in approving the transfer proposals create a perception of third-party interference.” He cautioned the AG stating that “Don’t let us take a stand that is going to be uncomfortable.”
The bench noted in its order that it will be put to the AG, that any delay in the transfer proposals may lead to judicial and administrative actions which would not be satisfactory to them. Justice Kaul also argued about the delay in the timeline and complained that there is no uniformity.
During the hearing, Advocate Prashant Bhushan put forth the issue of the Centre, not appointing the names which were repeatedly suggested by the Collegium long ago. Advocate Amit pai also raised the issue of ‘judiciary being attacked repeatedly by the Government functionaries.’
This matter will be heard next on February 13.