The SC collegium is believed to have cleared more than 100 names for appointment to several high courts.
The Supreme Court on Friday rapped the government for not appointing judges despite recommendations made by the collegium in this regard.
“There should not be a deadlock in appointment of judges. You (Centre) cannot bring the institution to a grinding halt,” said the top court hearing a petition concerning the delay in the appointment of judges to various high courts.
Stating that courtrooms across the country were being locked out because of lack of judges, the apex court said, “Government can’t sit over a situation where executive inaction is decimating the judiciary.”
“You have committed that process of appointment will continue without finalisation of Memorandum of Procedure (MoP). Finalisation of MoP has nothing to do with the ongoing appointment process in judiciary,” the court told the Centre.
The next hearing on the matter has been scheduled for November 11.
The apex court is particularly peeved at the pendency of 35 appointments it had cleared for the Allahabad High Court the first batch of eight on January 28 and the second for appointment of 27 judges in August. Both are yet to be notified.
The Allahabad High Court is functioning with less than 50 % of its strength with just 77 judges against the approved strength of 160. These appointments assume significance considering that the country’s largest high court accounts for about 25% of nearly 40 lakh cases pending in all 24 high courts and would have helped bring down vacancies from a high of 83 to 48, improving the bench strength to 112.
In the last week of September, the government notified appointment of at least 25 judges. The SC collegium is believed to have cleared more than 100 names for appointment to several high courts after scrapping the National Judicial Appointments Commission in October 2015.