NEW DELHI: Nearly two years after a Constitution Bench stuck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission and asked the government to redraft the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP), the Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the Centre on a plea which cited inordinate delay in judicial appointments.
After the NJAC was declared unconstitutional, there has been a tussle between the government and the apex court’s Collegium over issues in the MoP.
A bench of justices A K Goel and U U Lalit also sought the assistance of senior advocate K V Vishwanathan as amicus curiae and slated the hearing for November 14 and asked attorney general K K Venugopal to be present personally for the hearing.
The observation by the bench came on a petition filed by advocate R P Luthra. Luthra had first approached the Delhi High Court, challenging the appointments made to various high courts on the ground that the MoP had not been finalised. He then approached the Supreme Court.
In its order, the bench said, “We also find substance in the submission that the MoP must provide for a mechanism so that appointments of regular Chief Justices of High Courts are not unduly delayed.
However, we need to consider the prayer that there should be no further delay in finalisation of MoP in larger public interest. Even though no time limit was fixed by this court for finalisation of the MoP, the issue cannot linger on for an indefinite period. The order of this court is of December 2015 and thus more than one year and ten months have already gone by.”