Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday hit out at the Centre over pending collegium recommendations, saying that the government is "destroying" the independence of the judiciary by refusing to make appointments and picking one candidate over another.
With 70 collegium recommendations still stuck with the government, the Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed its dismay over the "delay" in the appointment of judges and asked the attorney general to use his office to resolve the issue.
In a post on X, Chidambaram asked whether it is the intention of the government to undermine and destroy the institution of the Supreme Court.
"Why are 70 recommendations, including proposals for appointment of judges to various High Courts, pending for several months with the government? If the intentions of the government were honest and bonafide, why 'sit' on the recommendations?" the former Union minister said.
As long as the law declared by the Supreme Court stands, the government is obliged to appoint as per the recommendations of the collegium especially when it is reiterated by the collegium, he said.
"By refusing to make appointments and picking one candidate over another, the government is destroying the independence and the integrity of the judiciary," Chidamabram said.
After a bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia raised the matter, Attorney General R Venkataramani sought a week's time to come back with instructions on the pending recommendations for judges' appointment to the high court.
"Today, I am quiet because the attorney general has sought a very short time, next time I will not be quiet. Use your good office to see these issues are resolved," Justice Kaul told Venkataramani during the hearing on Tuesday.
The bench said, "There were 80 recommendations pending until last week when 10 names were cleared. Now, the figure is 70, of which 26 recommendations are of transfer of judges, seven are reiterations, nine are pending without being returned to the collegium and one case is of appointment of the Chief Justice to a sensitive high court." All these recommendations are pending since November last year, it said.
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