PIL seeks time limit to act on Collegium recommendation

PIL seeks time limit to act on Collegium recommendation

New Delhi

A view of the Supreme Court of India. (pic for representation only)

A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking direction to fix a time limit for the government to process the recommendations made by the Collegium on appointment and transfer of judges in the high courts and the top court.

The petition filed by the Madras Bar Association contended that the arbitrary and inordinate delay by the executive in the appointment of judges to higher judiciary was violative of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.

As on June 1, 2018, out of 1079 sanctioned strength of judges in 24 high courts, as many as 420 posts are lying vacant. The Supreme Court is functioning with 23 judges as against sanctioned strength of 31 posts.

The petitioner said that with several recommendations for appointment of high courts judges stuck at various stages, the situation amounted to an indirect veto by the executive.

The petitioner sought direction to fix the timelines in the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for the appointment of judges.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud is likely to take up the petition on July 2.

The petitioner cited the strikes resorted to by lawyers at the Karnataka High Court and the Calcutta High Courts over the delay in processing the recommendations by the Collegium.

It further contended that the failure of the executive to act on the Collegium's recommendations resulted in an increase of the workload of the existing judges, seriously affecting the quality of justice delivery system.

It demanded that the failure of the constitutional functionary to express its opinion within a specified time limit should be construed as deemed agreement with the recommendations.