SC notice to AG over delay in fixing norms for judges appointment

SC notice to AG over delay in fixing norms for judges appointment

The Supreme Court on Friday sought to know from the Attorney General the reason for delay in finalising the Memorandum of Procedure for appointment of judges in the high courts and the apex court.

It said though no time limit can be fixed, the issue cannot linger on for an indefinite period as directions were issued for it on December 16, 2015.

"We need to consider the prayer that there should be no further delay in finalisation of MoP in larger public interest...more than one year and ten months have already gone by (since then)," a bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and U U Lalit said.

The court also expressed concern that many high courts were having only acting chief justice, though such an arrangement should not exceed beyond one month's time.

The court issued notice to Attorney General K K Venugopal and appointed senior advocate K V Vishwanathan as amicus curiae to assist it in examining a petition filed by advocate R P Luthra.

Luthra challenged the Delhi High Court's judgement of May 1, which  dismissed his plea pertaining to appointment of judges in the absence of MoP as directed by the apex court in its judgement quashing the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act.

The apex court did not find merit in this plea but agreed to consider on November 14 the issue of delay in finalisation of the MoP.

It also noted the observations by a seven-judge bench on July 4 in Justice C S Karnan's case, wherein the apex court stressed on the need to revisit the process of appointments and to set up mechanism for corrective measures other than impeachment against conduct of an erring judge.

CJ appointments
The bench also said we find substance in the submission that the MoP must provide for a mechanism so that appointments of regular chief justices of high courts are not unduly delayed.

"No doubt, the process is to be initiated by the Collegium and proposal is expected to be so initiated before accrual of the vacancies so as to ensure that appointments take place by the time vacancies arise and that the arrangement of acting Chief Justices does not exceed one month, as stipulated in the Memorandum of Procedure for Appointment (MoP) currently in force," the bench said.

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