SC for speeding up process for appointment of judges

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Union government to act fast on recommendations for appointment of judges at all levels and favoured for starting the process at least six months in advance before the vacancies arose.

Attorney General K K Venugopal agreed before a bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K M Joseph to convey the court's concern to the Law Minister, saying “some rethink on the whole procedure was required”.

The top court, which took up a suo motu matter related to strike by advocates in Odisha, said the lawyers boycotting the courts was “totally unacceptable” and amounted to “closure of judicial institutions”.

Venugopal submitted that lawyers must be given some grievance redressal committee. “See what is happening in Delhi's subordinate courts. “It was once an honourable profession, but today we are being looked down upon,” he said, citing the November 2 lawyers-police clash.

As BCI chairman Manan Kumar Mishra tried to defend lawyers by pinning the blame on the police for the Tis Hazari incident, the bench said, “Nobody claps with one hand, there were problems from both the sides. Our silence should be good enough.”

Senior advocates Vikas Singh, K V Vishwanathan and BCI chairman senior advocate Mishra gave their suggestions, including fixing a definite time-line for the government to act on Collegium's recommendations for appointment of judges, and periodic review of lawyers' roll by fixing filing of minimum cases to weed out non-practising advocates.

“Identification of black sheep is necessary,” Singh stressed.

Concurring to the suggestion, the bench said, “If it is not their profession, why do have you them on rolls? It means their bread and butter come from other sources. But reforms have to come from legal fraternity. Some time limit to be there on filling up vacancies. The government must shorten the time for processing of files.”

Justice Joseph, whose recommendation to the SC from Uttarakhand HC remained entangled for over one year, said, “There are several recommendations pending with the government for months together and nothing is done about them. Apart from this not being good for the relationship, it is also in violation of the judges' appointment case.”

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