Judicial Reforms

Supreme Court sets timeline for Govt to clear judges’ names


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Article 217 of Indian Constitution

Mains level: Paper 2- SC sets timeline to Centre to clear names recommended by the Centre

Why the timeline

  • The Supreme Court laid down a timeline for the Centre to clear names recommended by the High Court Collegiums.
  • The Bench noted that there are almost 40% vacancies in the High Courts, with many of the larger High Courts working under 50% of their sanctioned strength.
  • Against the sanctioned strength of 1,080 High Court Judges, 664 have been appointed but 416 vacancies remain. 
  • The Bench rejected the contention that laying down a timeline “would be contrary to” certain “observations made in the Third Judges case”, saying the “observations” referred to “deal with the judicial review of a particular appointment and not such aspects of the appointment process like delay”.

The timeline

  • The Intelligence Bureau (IB) should submit its report/ inputs within 4 to 6 weeks from the date of recommendation of the High Court Collegium, to the Central Government.
  • It would be desirable that the Central Government forward the file(s)/ recommendations to the Supreme Court within 8 to 12 weeks from the date of receipt of views from the State Government and the report/ input from the IB.
  • It would be for the Government to thereafter proceed to make the appointment immediately on the aforesaid consideration and undoubtedly, if Government has any reservations on suitability or in public interest, within the same period of time it may be sent back to the Supreme Court Collegium with the specific reasons for reservation recorded.
  • If the Supreme Court Collegium, after consideration of the aforesaid inputs, still reiterates the recommendation(s) unanimously…, such appointment should be processed and appointment should be made within 3 to 4 weeks.

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