Various high court collegiums are in “breach” of the six-month advance timeline in sending recommendations to fill several anticipated vacancies, the government informed Parliament on Thursday.
In three separate written replies to questions in the Rajya Sabha, Law Minister Kiren Rijiju also asserted that the government can seek a reconsideration of the names recommended by the Supreme Court collegium.
Responding to a question on the “breach” of the six-month timeline, Rijiju said as on January 30, “recommendations in respect of 236 vacancies (191 existing and 45 anticipated vacancies during next six months) are yet to be received from HC collegiums, which are in breach of the six months' advance timeline for making recommendations for anticipated vacancies.”
As on January 30, there were a total of 18 proposals on which a reconsideration of the SC Collegium was sought. The SC Collegium decided to reiterate six cases, while in seven cases, it has “desired updated inputs” from the high court collegiums. Rijiju said five cases were decided to be remitted by the SC Collegium to various HCs.
He said a total of 142 proposals recommended by the HC Collegiums were at “various stages of processing”.
Of the 142 proposals, four are pending with the SC Collegium and 138 are under various stages of processing in the government, he noted.
According to the procedure, the HC collegiums send proposals to appoint judges to the Department of Justice in the law ministry. The department then attaches the Intelligence Bureau reports on the candidates and forwards it to the SC Collegium to take a call.
Rijiju said as of now, the SC, with a sanctioned strength of 34 judges, including the CJI, is working with 27 judges.
“The SC Collegium recently made seven recommendations to fill up all the vacancies of judges in the SC,” he added.
As on January 30, against the sanctioned strength of 1,108 judges in the HCs, 775 judges were working and 333 posts were vacant.
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