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SC takes objections to Kiren Rijiu’s criticism of Collegium

Updated on: 29 November,2022 09:50 AM IST  |  New Delhi
Agencies |

Attacking the Collegium system of appointing judges, Union law minister last week said: Never say the govt is sitting on files... you run the show then

SC takes objections to Kiren Rijiu’s criticism of Collegium

Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju. File pic/ANI

The Supreme Court on Monday expressed displeasure over Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju’s remarks during a TV interview on Friday about the Collegium system of appointing judges in the higher judiciary. Rijiju had said that the Collegium system was “alien” to the Constitution. “Anything which is alien to the Constitution merely because of the decision taken by the courts or some judges, how do you expect that the decision will be backed by the country,” he had asked.

On delay in clearing names recommended by the Collegium, he had said, “Never say that the government is sitting on the files. Then don’t send the files to the government. You appoint yourself, you run the show then”. A bench of Justices S K Kaul and A S Oka on Monday said a three-judge bench of the SC had laid down the timelines within which the appointment process had to be completed. Those timelines, it said, have to be adhered to.

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“You are effectively frustrating the method of appointment,” the bench observed. It added that the government sometimes picks just one name from among those recommended by the Collegium and this “completely disturbs” the seniority. “Mr Attorney General, I have ignored all press reports, but this has come from somebody high enough also with an interview...,” said Justice Kaul to Attorney General R Venkataramani who was representing the Centre, without taking any names.

“Let them give the power. We have no difficulty… When somebody high enough says let them do it themselves, we will do it ourselves, no difficulty… It came from somebody high enough. Should not have. All I can say is should not have happened,” the Indian Express quoted the bench as saying. It said the Collegium has recommended the names of chief justices for some high courts and these recommendations are lying in abeyance.

“For the last two months, the whole thing has come to a standstill... Please resolve it... Don’t make us take a decision on this in the judicial side,” the bench said, posting the matter for hearing on December 8.

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