SC: 'Collegium system of appointing judges for higher judiciary is law of land, Centre must approve it'

The Supreme Court also directed the Attorney General and Solicitor General to ensure that the law is followed.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Monday, November 28, 2022, 03:49 PM IST
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Supreme Court of India | File

The Supreme Court stated on November 28 that the collegium system of appointing judges for the higher judiciary is the law of the land and that the Centre must approve it, according to media report.

"The Centre must approve a name that has been repeated by the Collegium," the Supreme Court added, "If the Centre refuses to obey the law today, another segment of the population may," according to the report.

The Supreme Court also directed the Attorney General and Solicitor General to ensure that the law is followed.

Centre is delaying the appointment of judges

Furthermore, the bench noted that the Centre is delaying the appointment of judges proposed by the Collegium by months. The Supreme Court poked fun at the government, saying that the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) did not pass constitutional muster.

"The Centre appears to be dissatisfied that its law, the NJAC Act (National Judicial Appointments Commission), did not pass the judicial test, but this cannot be used as an excuse to ignore what is the law of the land," the court said.

It responded by warning that the center was impeding the process by sitting on files, which was harming the system.

Observing that some names have been pending for more than a year and a half, SC stated, "Timetables have gone completely awry, and they must be followed." It also stated that appointments to SCs and HCs have stalled in recent months.

Supreme Court expressed its displeasure with the Centre's refusal

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court expressed its displeasure with the Centre's refusal to consider names recommended for appointment as judges in the higher judiciary, including those reaffirmed by the apex court Collegium, calling it "unacceptable."

The bench issued a notice to the incumbent Secretary (Justice) of the Union Law Ministry, requesting a response to a petition alleging "wilful disobedience" of the time frame set out in the apex court's April 20 order to facilitate a timely appointment.

The Supreme Court ordered in April last year that the Centre appoint judges within three to four weeks if the Collegium unanimously reiterated its recommendations.

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