SC: The way Centre approves collegium picks ‘troublesome’

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Source: The post is based on the article SC: The way Centre approves collegium picks troublesome published in “TOI” on 21st October 2023

What is the News?

The Supreme Court has cautioned the Union government against a “pick and choose” approach in matters of judicial appointments.

Background: 

In 2021, the Supreme Court had expressed concerns over the growing number of vacancies in High courts and urged the central government to promptly notify the appointments of candidates endorsed by the Supreme Court collegium.

To streamline the process, the court established a timeline: The Intelligence Bureau (1B) should submit its reports to the central government within four to six weeks from the date of the high court collegium’s recommendation.

In turn, the central government should forward the recommendations to the Supreme Court within eight to 12 weeks of receiving the intelligence agency inputs and the state government’s views.

After the Supreme Court collegium sends its recommendations, the Centre should immediately notify the appointments of the candidates so endorsed or return the recommendations within the same period specifying the reasons for its reservations.

Finally, if any or all of the names are reiterated, the appointments would have to be processed and notified within three to four weeks from the receipt of the names.

What has happened after the Supreme Court streamlined the appointment process of judges?

A contempt petition was filed by the Advocates Association Bengaluru accusing the Centre of violating the court’s directions by not approving 11 names reiterated by the Supreme Court collegium.

What are the observations made by the Supreme Court on this contempt petition?

The Supreme Court said that the delay in appointments of judges ‘frustrated the whole system’. 

It also expressed grave concerns over the Centre’s practice of pick and choose approach in matters of judicial appointments.It said that such practice disrupts the seniority of the persons nominated for judgeship.

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