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Delay in appointing judges: SC says withholding names is not acceptable

Delay in appointing judges: SC says withholding names is not acceptable

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said to the Centre the courts are losing the chance to have eminent persons on the bench and withholding names is not acceptable. There are 11 names currently pending the Centre's approval and the oldest of them dates back to September 2021.

The top court was seeking a response from the Union Law Secretary over the delay in the appointment of judges to the apex court and the high courts. The bench further said it is resisting issuing a contempt notice and only issuing a simple notice against the Law Ministry for the time being.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for The Advocates Association Bengaluru, asked the court to initiate contempt proceedings against the senior officers. The recommendation made for the elevation of Bombay High Court judge, Justice Dipankar Dutta to the Supreme Court, has been kept pending. He added that it has been five weeks since Justice Dutta's name was proposed. "It should have been approved in days."

The court said keeping the names pending and not clearing them is not acceptable. The bench also expressed discontent that among the names, reconsideration has been sought in cases. In some cases, the government did not clear the names despite a second reiteration. This led to some officials withdrawing their names.

This implies that the government is not appointing judges. The Centre is also not communicating if it has any reservations. "There are also 10 names pending with the government which has been reiterated by the Supreme Court collegium. The cause of law and justice suffers as a result of judges not being appointed to the apex court and the high courts," noted Justice Kaul.

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