Centre questions why Collegium is suggesting only few names

The Union government on Friday asked the Supreme Court why the Collegium was recommending a few names even though vacancies in the high courts have been rising.

Amid the tussle between the executive and the judiciary on the appointment of judges, the Union government on Friday asked the Supreme Court why the Collegium was recommending a few names even though vacancies in the high courts have been rising.

“The Collegium will have to see the broad picture and recommend more names. Some high courts have 40 vacancies and recommendation of the Collegium is only for three. And the government is being told that we are tardy in filing up the vacancy,” Attorney General K K Venugopal contended before a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta.

“If there is no Collegium recommendation, nothing can be done,” he added.

The bench, for its part, asked him, “Tell us, how many names (recommended by the Collegium) are pending with you”.

To this, Venugopal said he would have to find out. “When it comes to the government, you say 'we will find out',” the bench retorted.

“People from the Northeast, what are they supposed to do? They come to Delhi before us, to say that please transfer our case to other high courts. They spend money for this,” the bench said, adding that there has to be expediency in clearing appointments.

Notably, the Union government, more than three months after the Collegium's recommendation to elevate Uttarakhand High Court's Chief Justice K M Joseph, had on April 26 returned the file seeking reconsideration on the name.

The Collegium had on April 19 recommended for appointing Justice M Yaqoob Mir and Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar as the chief justices of the Meghalaya High Court and Manipur High Court respectively.

Venugopal said that their appointment was under consideration and that orders would be issued shortly.

The court asked the Union government to file an affidavit within 10 days on steps taken so far to fill up vacancies in high courts of Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura.

The Manipur High Court has only two judges against a sanctioned strength of seven, the Meghalaya High Court has one judge against the sanctioned strength of four, while the Tripura High Court has two judges against the sanctioned strength of four.

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Centre questions why Collegium is suggesting only few names

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