The Attorney General R Venkataramani today told the Supreme Court that appointment of five judges in the Supreme Court will be soon notified by the Union based on the recommendations made by the Collegium.

A Bench comprising Justice SK Kaul and Justice Abhay S Oka was hearing pleas relating to delay on part of the Union in notifying names recommended by Collegium for appointment as judges in the Supreme Court and various High Courts.

The Supreme Court proceeded to record that “Attorney General submits that so far as five recommendations are made for the Supreme Court, warrants will be issued within 5 days”. The Attorney General said that the process of appointment is “happening”. “It has been happening! But when will this happen? Things have not been happening for years together" remarked the Bench in response to the submission made by him.

On December 13, 2022, the Collegium recommended five judges of the High Court for their elevation to the Supreme Court. The names included Rajasthan High Court Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal, Patna High Court Chief Justice Sanjay Karol, Manipur High Court Chief Justice P V Sanjay Kumar, Patna High Court Judge Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Allahabad High Court Judge Manoj Misra.

Also, the Court termed delay in transfer of High Court judges as “a very, very serious issue” and said, “If you keep transfer pending, it is more serious than anything else”.

Attorney, don’t let us take a stand that is going to be uncomfortable”, said the Court expressing displeasure on non-action of the Centre over transfer of High Court judges.

Sometimes you do it overnight, sometimes you take many days. There is no uniformity. We’ll take up the matter after a week”, said the Court when it proceeded to list the matter for further hearing on February 13, after the Union Government sought time.

In the meantime, the Supreme Court said that it is expecting to hear some “good news” by the coming Friday.

During an earlier hearing, the Attorney General submitted before the Apex Court that the Government will adhere to the timelines laid down by the Supreme Court for processing the names recommended by the Collegium for appointment as judges to constitutional courts.

The Court then said that “we expect the Attorney General to play a role of senior most law officer of this Court in advising the Government of the legal position as it exists and to ensure that the said legal principles are followed”.

Many recommendations of the collegium remain pending with the government. The collegium system has become a major flashpoint between the Supreme Court and the central government, with the mechanism of judges appointing judges drawing criticism from different quarters.

The plea in the Court has alleged "wilful disobedience" of the time frame laid down in its April 20, 2021, to facilitate the timely appointment of judges. In the order, the Court had said the Centre should appoint judges within three-four weeks if the Collegium reiterates its recommendations unanimously.

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