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In The Tug of War Between Judiciary & Govt, Litigant Is the Loser

The law minister was also critical of the current system of appointing judges themselves saying that the collegium system isn't mentioned in the constitution.-

Ashok Bagriya | CNN-News18

Updated:August 12, 2016, 8:25 PM IST
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In The Tug of War Between Judiciary & Govt, Litigant Is the Loser
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Justice of India TS Thakur (Right).

The differences between the judiciary and the government over transfer and appointment of judges came out in the open on Friday when the Chief justice of India T S Thaur questioned government's delaying tactics despite the collegium clearing the names of judges for new appointments to the High courts and Supreme court.

CJI TS Thakur, while hearing a public intrest Litigation on the issue asked the Attorney General of India (AG), why the government had not cleared recommendations that were given a go ahead over eight months back.

Expressing his anguish over government tactics, CJI T S Thakur asked the AG why the appointments had not come through, and if the files were caught up, who and which authority was holding them up.

The Indian judiciary has come in for a lot of criticism lately over the number of cases pending in various courts.

The data available for the 24 high courts and lower courts up to the year ending 2013 showed a pendency of 44.5 lakh and a whopping 2.6 crore cases respectively.

According to data available with the apex court, the number of pending cases with the Supreme Court was 64,919 as on December 1, 2014.

A couple of months back, while speaking at the joint conference of chief ministers and chief justices of high courts in Delhi, the Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur almost broke down in the presence of the Prime Minister bemoaning the inaction of governments in the appointment of judges.

So what lies at the center of this controversy?

It is the new memorandum of procedure, proposed by the Supreme Court for appointment of judges after it quashed the Centre's bid to bring in the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) for appointment of judges.

The controversial NJAC act was struck down by the top court as it termed the government's involvment in appointment process of judges as interference with its judiciary.

The law minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, in a discussion in parliament on appointment of judges batted for PM's role in the appointment of judges.

He said that PM is the central authority in appointment of all constitutional authorities. "When PM can be given so much authority - how is it that PM can't be trusted with appointment of judges", Prasad wondered.

The law minister was also critical of the current system of appointing judges through the collegium system and clarified that it isn't mentioned in the constitution, adding that collegium itself was an institution formed by judges.

The SC judgement that declared the NJAC act unconstitutional has also drawn flak from the lawmaker who said that when 99.99 per cent of the MPs voted for NJAC how can it be violative of the basic structure of the constitution.

But even as this tug of war goes on between the judiciary and the government, it is the litigant on the street who suffers the most.

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