"Don't Make Us...": Supreme Court To Centre On Judges' Appointment Delays

Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju had said the collegium system of appointing judges is "alien" to the Constitution.

The Solicitor General, on behalf of the Centre, said that "sometimes media reports are wrong".

New Delhi: The Supreme Court questioned the government's delay in clearing judicial appointments today, saying it was "crossing the Rubicon". "Till the law stands, it has to be followed... Don't make us take a judicial decision in this regard," the court added.

Here's your 10-point guide to this big story:

  1. On judicial appointments, the top court said the Centre cannot hold names back without mentioning its reservations. "Once the Collegium reiterates a name, it is end of the chapter... It (the government) is crossing the Rubicon by keeping the names pending like this," the court said.

  2. "For the past two months, things are at the standstill.  Please resolve this... don't make us take judicial decisions," said the bench of Justices S K Kaul and A S Oka while hearing a petition that alleged "wilful disobedience" of the top court mandated time frame on appointments.Justice Kaul is part of the Collegium and the second senior-most judge in the top court.

  3. "It cannot be that you can withhold names, it frustrates the whole system... And sometimes when you appoint, you pick up some names from the list and not clear others. What you do is you effectively disrupt the seniority," the court added.

  4. "The ground reality is...names are not being cleared. How will the system work? Some names are pending for the last one and half years," the Supreme Court said.

  5. Some recommendations have crossed the time limit. One lawyer whose name was recommended has died, while another has withdrawn consent, the judges said.

  6. The judges also questioned if the National Judicial Appointments Commission not passing muster was the reason that the government is not happy.

  7. The court also gave a thumbs down to Law Minister Kiren Rijiju's recent comment that the Collegium system was "alien" to the Constitution. "When someone in a high position says that... it should not have happened," the Supreme Court said.

  8. At a recent Times Now Summit, Mr Rijiju, who expressed reservations about the method of judicial appointments earlier as well, said the top court created the collegium and before 1991, judges were appointed by the government.

  9. When Solicitor General Tushar Mehta suggested that "sometimes media reports are wrong", Justice SK Kaul said, " I have ignored all press reports, but this has come from somebody high enough also with an interview... I am not saying anything else. If we have to, we will take a decision".

  10. The hearing was adjourned till December 8 after Attorney General R Venkataramani and the Solicitor General assured the court that they will look into the matter.

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