July 13, 2018
According to report, the Law Ministry is set to forward nearly 120 names shortlisted for appointment as High Court Judges to the Supreme Court collegium.
The shortlisted names were sent by the High Court collegium to the Centre, which is now working on carrying out background checks on these candidates with support from the Intelligence Bureau (IB). The names would finally be sent to the Supreme Court collegium by the end of this week, an official said, quoted in a Hindustan Times report.
The report further claims that 69 names for appointment as judges to 13 High Courts have already been sent & another batch of around 50 names are expected to be sent very soon.
In a conference held previous month, the Union Minister for Law & Justice-Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad had said that the Centre was set to break its own record of appointing 126 judges within a year in 2016. However, despite this, up until June, only 34 judges had been appointed, with there existing 411 (38%) vacancies out of a total approved strength of 1079 Judges in the 24 High Courts, as on July 1, 2018.
The officials mentioned in the report attributed the slowdown to the delay on IB’s part in providing background check reports. The agency had slowed down the process after the SC collegium made its resolutions public, often citing IB reports for rejecting candidates.
The IB had then written to the Law Ministry clarifying that these reports are confidential and are only meant for the perusal of the Ministry. The IB’s concerns were then verbally communicated to the collegium, resolving the slump.