The Supreme Court on Friday warned the Centre on the delay in clearing the transfer of high court judges recommended by the apex court collegium, saying it may result in both administrative and judicial actions which may not be palatable.
A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay S. Oka told the Attorney General R. Venkataramani, representing the Centre, "Don't make us take a stand which will be very uncomfortable...", and further added that if transfer of judges is kept pending then it is a serious issue.
Justice Kaul said transfer is a very serious issue and warned against the interference of third parties in the process. He told the AG that sometimes the government does it overnight and sometimes it takes longer and there is no uniformity, and added that even chief justices transfers are also pending.
The bench orally observed, "We will have to take a difficult decision. Do not make us take a hard stand", and told the AG, who said the court may not record anything as it is happening.
The top court stressed, "It has been happening! But when will this happen? Things have not been happening for years together..."
During the hearing, advocate Amit Pai, counsel representing the petitioner, said that the court is being attacked from outside. Justice Kaul said, "We are used to it. Be rest assured that it does not bother us. It is for the authorities to know where to..." After hearing detailed arguments, the bench scheduled the matter for further hearing on February 13.
The AG submitted that recommendations made for appointment of the five Supreme Court judges would be cleared shortly.
On December 13, 2022, the apex court collegium had recommended for elevation of justices Pankaj Mithal, Sanjay Karol, P.V. Sanjay Kumar, Ahsanuddin Amanullah and Manoj Misra to the Supreme Court.
On January 31, the collegium also recommended for elevation of Justice Rajesh Bindal, Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court and Justice Aravind Kumar, Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court as judges of the top court.
The top court was hearing a contempt petition filed by Advocates Association of Bangalore against the Centre breaching the timeline for judicial appointments. Earlier, the apex court had expressed its displeasure over the delay in clearing of the names approved by the collegium for appointments.