SC asks Centre to fix timeline for judicial appointments: All you need to know

The Supreme Court on Wednesday urged the center to set a firm schedule for clearing appointments of judges for the higher judiciary after receiving recommendations from the college. Here’s everything you need to know about the matter:

• The motion was made even though a new Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) on judicial appointments has been pending for almost four years.

• The court stated that as of December 31, 189 nominations were pending before the government.

• Additional proposals have been added that the government has pending for over six months.

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• A bank led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde said every effort should be made to ensure appointments are timed.

• Of 1,079 positions of judges in the Supreme Courts, 411 are vacant.

• As of January 1, vacancies made up more than a third of all positions.

• In 2015, the Supreme Court overturned the National Judicial Appointments Commission law and the 99th constitutional amendment that sought to give the executive a say in the appointment of judges.

• This judgment found that the appointment of judges continues through the recommendations of the College, which includes the CJI and four other senior judges from the Supreme Court.

• The court had said that, in consultation with the government, a new MoP should be introduced to guide all future judge appointments.

• A draft MoP was sent by the College to the Union’s Ministry of Justice in March 2017, but the government returned it and suggested certain improvements.

• Minister of Union Law Ravi Shankar Prasad told Lok Sabha in March 2020 that the government’s proposals are still pending in the Supreme Court.

• The new MoP on eligibility criteria and a timetable for the appointment of judicial officers have yet to be finalized.

• The Supreme Court on Wednesday described it as “very worrying” that following recommendations, the college had not heard from the government in months.

• It was said that a proposal would get stuck without knowing the reason, whether the government objected to a particular name or whether there were other problems.

• As of May and June last year, around a dozen names have been pending for appointments to the Supreme Courts of Allahabad and Bombay.

• The court said even a proposal to appoint some government attorneys as judges had not been resolved quickly.

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