After the Supreme Court has rapped the central government for the delay in appointment of judges as suggested by the collegium, government comes out with its concerns. The Centre has said that it is keen on expediting appointments but is hamstrung because of the SC's own directive on the appointment of judges on the basis of the new memorandum of procedure (MoP).
"If the government had intended to stall, it would not have appointed 86 new judges to high courts, four to the Supreme Court, 14 chief justices of HCs and accepted the collegium's recommendations for transfer of four CJs and 33 judges from HCs since December last year. It also made permanent 121 ad hoc judges in HCs," sources in the law ministry said.
"The government has sent the redrafted MoP to the collegium on August 7. For the last two-and-ahalf months, there has been no word from the collegium on finalization of the MoP which, according to the five-judge bench, should form the basis for appointment of judges to the SC and HCs," a law ministry source said.
"The situation stands like this- the MoP, as ordered by the five-judge bench, has not been finalized. The government has been appointing judges as per the old MoP, which is in violation of the constitution bench judgment. And now, the CJI-headed three-judge bench is insisting on going ahead with appointments as per the old MoP," the source said.
"This has caused a dilemma in the government. Who should we obey, the five-judge bench's mandate or the order of the three-judge bench?" the source asked.
"The government is equally keen to expedite the appointments, but it is also equally concerned that the revised MoP must be finalized expeditiously. The revised MoP takes into account the mandate of the five-judge bench- transparency, enlarging the zone of consideration, due appraisal and screening of candidates in the zone of consideration and ensuring objectivity in the process," the source said.
"The government is keen to implement the five-judge bench's mandate to reinforce the MoP with transparency and objectivity. How long can appointments go on under a system held to be flawed by the SC's five-judge bench?" the source asked.