It is obvious that the action/reply of the Minister is contempt of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and also a breach of privilege as he has deliberately misled the House keeping the House in dark regarding the order of the Supreme Court.” John Brittas MP Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) wrote in his Letter to Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu.
He moved a privilege motion against the Law Minister Kiren Rijiju for a deceptive reply to a question raised by him on the filling up of vacancies in the High Courts.
He asked the Law Minister to provide details of the number of High Court judges suggested by the Supreme Court collegium for appointment during the last one year, and how many of these recommendations had been implemented, in a starred question in the Rajya Sabha.
In response, Mr. Rijiju educated the house that between July 1 2020 to July 15, 2021,out of 80 recommendations by the SC collegium, only 45 of had been appointed as judges and the leftover were under different stages of processing.
Further Mr. Rijiju had pointed out that filling up vacancies in the higher judiciary was a ‘continuous, integrated and collaborative process between the Executive and the Judiciary, requiring consultation and approval from Constitutional authorities at the State as well as Central level’. He also added that no timeline could be given for filling up the vacancies.
Mr. Brittas additionally wrote that the reply given by the Minister was “in contravention of the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court”. The Supreme Court has said, “If the Supreme Court collegium after consideration of the aforesaid inputs, still reiterates the recommendation(s) unanimously, such appointments should be processed and appointment should be made within 3 to 4 weeks.”
Moreover Mr. Brittas added that it had been dependably learnt that many proposals reiterated by the collegium were pending with the government “well beyond the stipulated time frame given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court”.
While the Supreme Court has communicated exasperation at the delay in filling up of the mounting vacancies of High Court judges and focused on the need to complete the appointment process.