For the past few days, Modi government’s Law Minister Kiren Rijiju has been questioning the collegium system for appointing judges. This time, the Supreme Court judges expressed their displeasure with the statement of the Union Law Minister without naming them. Judges have also slammed the Modi government for dithering over the Supreme Court collegium’s recommendation to appoint someone as a judge.
Kiren Rijiju said in an interview on Friday that the central government should not be blamed for the delay in the collegium’s file of recommendations after several questions were raised in the media about the collegium system without justice. It is not expected that the name recommended by the collegium of judges will be sealed by the government. He also commented that a better system is needed than the collegium. Rijiju also commented that judges should appoint judges themselves if necessary.
Warning for Central government
Yesterday, the Supreme Court bench of Justice Sanjay Kishen Kaul and Justice A. S. Oka warned the central government that the court will issue directions if necessary to implement the recommendations of the collegium on time. Justice Kaul told the Center’s attorney general, “I was ignoring all the media reports. But someone senior enough has given an interview. I am not saying anything more. If need be, we will take a decision.”
Now the collegium made up of the 5 most senior judges of the Supreme Court recommends the appointment of the Chief Justice of the High Court and the judges of the Supreme Court. The Modi government brought in the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act when it came to power. But the Supreme Court struck it down as unconstitutional. Although the issue has been kept under wraps for a long time, the Law Minister has again come out against the collegium system. Justice Kaul said yesterday, “It seems that the government is unhappy that the NJAC Act has failed to meet constitutional standards.”
Despite the collegium’s recommendations for appointment as judges, the Modi government has not taken any decision on the names of 68 people. Of these, 11 names have been repeated. According to the rules, after which the government has no choice but to accept. But there was a case in the Supreme Court that the government was deliberately delaying.
Statement from Kaul
Justice Kaul told the government’s lawyers yesterday, “You cannot delay without showing any reason. Many recommendations are pending for one-and-a-half years. You are creating problems in the recruitment process. The time limit is fixed. It has to be accepted. The four-month time limit has passed for many names. . But no information was given. Once a recommendation is repeated it cannot be reversed.”
Judges have said earlier that senior lawyers do not want to become judges because of this attitude of the government. Meanwhile, 40 per cent of the posts in the High Court are lying vacant. Justice Kaul said, “It is important to have qualified people as judges. The government’s efforts to appoint seniors first are being wasted.”