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Q. Appointment of new judges: In the backdrop of recent appointment of new judges, comment on ongoing conflict between executive and judiciary.
Nov 16, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

Introduction-

Since last some years we are witnessing the conflict between judiciary and executive over the appointment of judges. This conflict has reached crisis proportions and is threatening to cripple judicial functioning due to large number of shortage of judges in various high courts. In this background recently central government has cleared 34 names out of a list of 77 recommended by collegiums for appointment in various high courts.

Issues-

  • Since long time there is ongoing tussle between executive and judiciary over who will appoint the judges of higher judiciary.   
  • Last year Supreme Court has nullified the National Judicial Appointment Commission and reaffirmed supremacy of Judiciary in appointment of judges. 
  • Recently centre has kept pending a list of 77 names recommended by collegium for appointment of various high courts for long time. 

Recent developments-

  • Recently centre has cleared 34 names recommended by collegium and returned 44 by citing various objections. 
  • Now the collegium is now obliged to return to its recommendations and examine the government’s specific objections about the suitability of each candidate.
  • This Process may further delay the filling up of vacancies, which have been well above the 400-mark at the high court level for some time now.

Analysis-

  • As per recent judgement and current prevailing practice, judiciary has supreme power over executive in appointment of judges. Hence the executive bound to make the appointments if the collegium reiterates the recommendations.
  • But it is quite unusual that such a large number of names should be returned and it raises the issue of larger differences between the judiciary and the executive. 
  • The difference between executive and judiciary has resulted into the grim situation as the judicial branch is grappling with an enormous work burden. Due to this large number of cases are pending before various high courts.

Suggestions-

  • Despite having large differences, the judiciary and the executive should attempt to forge a quick consensus on the process of appointment of judges, as huge numbers of cases are pending there. 
  • A proper mechanism and agreement is vital to bring the overall reforms in the process of appointment of judges to higher judiciary. 

Conclusion-

Ongoing tussle between judiciary and executive have resulted into pending of appointment large number of judges in various high courts, which have huge vacancies. In this background recent move by centre to clear the 34 names is welcome move. Similarly it has retuned 43 names with some objections and judiciary needs to examine those. The tussle between these pillars is not good for democracy, hence there is an urgent need to build consensus in the appointment process of judges of higher courts. 


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