Procedure for appointment of judges should be drafted at the earliest: SC

Supreme Court: Noticing that more than one year and ten months have already gone by since the Court order the finalisation of Memoranda of Procedure (MoP), the bench of AK Goel and UU Lalit, JJ said that there should be no further delay in finalization of MoP in larger public interest and hence, issued notice to Centre and listed the matter on 14.11.2017.

The 5-judge bench of the then CJI, Justice JS Khehar and J. Chelameswar, Madan B. Lokur, Kurian Joseph and AK Goel, JJ had, in Supreme Court Advocate-on Record Association v. Union of India, (2016) 5 SCC 1, emphasised upon the independence of judiciary and had called for drafting of revised MoP. The Court, hence, said:

“Even though no time limit was fixed by this Court for finalization of the MOP, the issue cannot linger on for indefinite period.”

The Court also noticed that the MoP must provide for a mechanism so that appointments of regular Chief Justices of High Courts are not unduly delayed. It further said:

“No doubt, the process is to be initiated by the Collegium and proposal is expected to be so initiated before accrual of the vacancies so as to ensure that appointments take place by the time vacancies arise and that the arrangement of acting Chief Justices does not exceed one month, as stipulated in para 5 of the Memorandum of Procedure for Appointment (MOP) currently in force, in pursuance of judgment of this Court in Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association v. Union of India, (1993) 4 SCC 441.”

The Court, hence, issued notice to Attorney General KK Venugopal and asked senior advocate K.V. Vishwanathan to assist the Court as amicus. [RP Luthra v. Union of India, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 1254, order dated 27.10.2017]

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