The Supreme Court on Friday said that the Centre has not been delaying the appointment of judges in higher judiciary, PTI reported. The bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said delays, if any, were at the collegium’s end.

The court was hearing a petition filed by an NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation that alleged that the Centre has been “indefinitely sitting” on the names recommended by the Supreme Court collegium for appointment of judges.

“Appointments are happening. As the chief justice, I am telling you that whatever is pending is pending before the Supreme Court collegium,” the bench said. “Nothing is pending with the government.”

Gogoi said there were about 27 recommendations pending before the government, while there were 70 to 80 pending before the collegium. The court ordered that the PIL be listed for hearing after six weeks.

The petitioner had sought a direction to the Centre to notify the appointment of judges for the Supreme Court and other High Courts whose names have been unanimously already selected by the Collegium. The government cannot “frustrate” the process of appointment of judges by sitting on the recommendations, it said.

“An independent and transparent system of judicial appointments that is free from political and partisan considerations has an important bearing on the independence and impartiality of the judges,” the plea said.

In an interview with NDTV on Februry 18, Gogoi had said the government was not stalling the appointment of judges. “It is rather the other way round. People think it is the government keeping the files,” Gogoi had said. “Only 30 proposals for appointment are with the government. Also, the government clears appointments quickly.”