Out of the 11 judges recommended by the Collegium for transfer, five have been transferred, while six are still pending. Among the pending transfers, four are from the Gujarat High Court, and one each from the high courts of Allahabad and Delhi, as noted by the court. (Image: ANI)
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday raised concerns with the Centre regarding the delayed notification of the transfer of certain judges, a majority from the Gujarat High Court.
However, the court acknowledged the clearance of the Collegium’s recommendations for transfers from other courts. Highlighting the issue of the Centre’s "pick and choose" approach in approving the Collegium’s recommendations for the transfer of High Court judges, the Apex Court remarked that such a practice sends an unfavourable signal.
Out of the 11 judges recommended by the Collegium for transfer, five have been transferred, while six are still pending. Among the pending transfers, four are from the Gujarat High Court, and one each from the high courts of Allahabad and Delhi, as noted by the court.
A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Sudhanshu Dhulia pointed out that, of the recently recommended names for judgeship in high courts, eight have not yet received clearance.
The bench expressed concern that some of these pending appointments involve judges who are senior to those already appointed.
Justice Kaul, a member of the Apex Court Collegium, addressed Attorney General R. Venkataramani, stating, "As per my information, you have issued transfer orders for five judges. For six judges, you have not issued. Four of them are from Gujarat. Last time also, I had said this does not send a good signal."
He emphasised the importance of avoiding selective transfers, as it creates its own set of dynamics. The bench criticised the government’s "pick and choose" policy regarding the Collegium’s recommendations for transfers.
The court was hearing two petitions, one of which alleged a delay on the Centre's part in approving names recommended by the Collegium for judicial appointments and transfers.
The court underscored the problem of selective appointments leading to a loss of seniority, questioning the willingness of individuals to become judges under such circumstances. It reiterated that candidates should know their seniority to attract other eligible and deserving candidates.
Referring to older Collegium recommendations, the bench noted that the list of delayed recommendations included names reiterated once or twice. The Apex Court scheduled further hearings on the matter for December 5.