New Delhi: Chief Justice of India TS Thakur today said that he had hoped Prime Minister Narendra Modi would address the appointment of judges, which have been pending with the government, in his Independence Day speech from the Red Fort in Delhi.
- Hoped PM would speak on appointments, he said nothing: TS Thakur
- Supreme Court had slammed government for 'sitting over' appointments
- Appointments being processed. Govt committed to judiciary: Law Minister
"I listened to the PM's speech. I had hoped he would speak on the appointment of judges. But the PM said nothing. So many cases are pending. I have repeatedly spoken to them (government) about appointment of judges," he said.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was present at the function, said the appointments were being processed. "Our commitment to the judiciary is complete. We are in the process of finalising procedure. We are in discussion," he said.
Justice Thakur's comments come just days after the Supreme Court accused the government of "sitting over" judges' appointments and said scathingly: "Don't force us to pass orders to remove this logjam."
A three-judge bench led by the Chief Justice told the government on Friday that since February, 75 names had been recommended for the high court and none had been approved.
The appointment and transfer of judges is decided by a collegium or a panel of the senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, including the chief justice. The names recommended by the collegium are forwarded to the government for approval and finally signed off by the President.
In April, Justice Thakur broke down at a meeting in the presence of Prime Minister Modi while talking about the pressure on judges and the need to appoint more.
The Prime Minister had then assured the judiciary that his government was serious about addressing the issues. "If a closed door and close team norms allow, I will definitely try to find a way out," he had said.
The appointment of more than 480 judges in the Supreme Court and High Courts across the country has been caught in the tussle between the judiciary and the government with more than 30 million cases pending in high courts.