The issue of delay in appointment of judges has been a cause of concern for years and the Supreme Court has been expressing its uneasiness on this issue from time to time.
This time the apex court has taken a strict stand and said that it will hear the case every ten-twelve days, so that it can be resolved quickly.
Hundreds of posts of judges are lying vacant in various High Courts of the country.
The list of transfers and promotions is also getting longer, but there is no pace in the matter of appointments at the government level.
The Supreme Court has expressed surprise that in the last ten months, the Collegium had recommended eighty names to the government for appointment of judges in the High Courts, but till now only ten names have been approved.
Seventy recommendations are pending. Twenty-six of these recommendations are for transfer of judges, seven have been re-sent. Nine are pending without being returned to the college. A sensitive matter of appointment of the Chief Justice in the High Court is also pending. The bench, while hearing the matter of this delay in the appointment of judges, expressed disappointment with the government, saying that they wanted to say a lot, but since the Attorney General has sought less time to respond on the issue, they were restraining themselves. Are stopping. It is noteworthy that the Attorney General has sought one week’s time from the bench on this issue.
It can be estimated to what extent the delay in appointment of judges would be affecting the justice system.
Underlining this, the court said that many of the good and talented lawyers whose names were recommended to be made judges have withdrawn. Obviously, this is a worrying situation and it is natural for the Supreme Court to be angry over this.
The uproar in the appointment of judges is nothing new. Despite the tried and tested collegium system for appointment, hundreds of posts of judges from district courts to high courts have been lying vacant for years.
Points of conflict have often emerged between the government and the judiciary on this issue.
According to the data released by the Central Government last year, there were five thousand eight hundred and fifty posts of judges vacant in the district courts.
A total of eleven hundred and eight posts of judges are sanctioned in all the High Courts, out of which three hundred thirty three were vacant.
This is the situation when there are only twenty judges available per million population in the country.
The Supreme Court has also expressed its concern over the fact that the number of judges is not increasing in relation to the population. The issue of appointment of judges has been a cause of conflict between the government and the Supreme Court.
In fact, the Central Government had enacted the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act for the appointment and transfer of judges in the Supreme Court and High Courts, which was rejected by the Supreme Court in 2015 as interference in the functioning of the judiciary.
On the other hand, the government has often raised questions on the functioning of the collegium.
Obviously, ultimately the public will have to bear the brunt of this tussle between the government and the Supreme Court.
If both the institutions take steps keeping in mind their responsibilities and the needs of the country, then the matter can be resolved soon and the situation of conflict can be avoided.