The Centre on Monday returned the names of 13 judges recommended by the Supreme Court’s collegium for their appointment to the Allahabad High Court, The Telegraph reported. The government asked the top court to reconsider the names, with Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi telling a bench led by outgoing Chief Justice of India TS Thakur that they had found “certain inconsistencies” in the recommendations.
“We have returned 13 of the 37 names sent back to us after reconsideration,” Rohatgi told the bench. “The others are under process.” The move came the same day the Supreme Court accused the Centre of sitting on judges’ transfers, leaving the judiciary to work through a constant staff crunch as cases pile up.
“How will a litigant view a judge who is continuing his judicial work when he is already under transfer to another high court? The litigant will think that he is continuing because somebody wants him to do so,” the apex court bench observed. The court asked the Centre to submit a report on the status of the pending transfers in the next three weeks.
The appointment of judges has been a matter of contention between the Centre and the judiciary since the Supreme Court struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act in October 2015. While the court and Centre are supposed to prepare aMemorandum of Procedure for judicial appointments, the Union Law Ministry has said it has yet to hear from the court on the issue.