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Observing that justice delivery system is “collapsing”, the Supreme Court yesterday sent out a stern message to the Centre over non-execution of collegium’s decision to transfer and appoint Chief Justices and judges in High Courts, saying it will not tolerate the “logjam” and would intervene to make it accountable.
Expressing its anguish over mounting vacancies, the court also said it appears that the Centre is trying to bring judiciary to a halt by not appointing and transferring judges as decided by the collegium.
The apex court’s attack on the government came on a day when the Rajya Sabha was informed by the government that 478 vacancies are yet to be filled up in 24 high courts and that nearly 39 lakh cases are pending there.
Referring to differences between judiciary and the Centre over the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP), dealing with the appointment of judges, it said the process of appointment cannot be stalled owing to delay in the finalization of the MoP.
The bench said that it may intervene on “judicial” side as the eight-month old decision of the collegium on transfer and appointment of the HC judges has not been given effect to.
“Why there is mistrust? Where’s the proposal languishing? 75 names have been recommended by the Collegium but there seems to be no response. Even appointment of Chief Justices are pending.
“Transfer of judges are pending. The judges who have been transferred are not being transferred. We don’t want all these. This logjam is not good,” the bench, also comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, said.
The bench said that if the Government has any reservation against any names then it can always come back to the collegium.
“If there is problem with regard to any name, please sent the file back to us (for reconsideration),” it said.
The CJI, referring to his recent visit to Hyderabad, said that the Andhra Pradesh High Court is presently working at its 40 per cent of original strength and the pendency has risen immensely.
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said, “I will take it up at the highest level and will come back to the court”.
He pleaded that no notice be issued for the time being on the PIL filed by 1971 war veteran Lieutenant Colonel Anil Kabotra on the issue.