Centre's selective 'pick & choose' approach doesn’t send a good signal: SC
New Delhi, Nov 20: The Supreme Court on Monday remarked that the Centre's selective 'pick and choose' approach in appointments and transfer of judges in higher judiciary “doesn’t send a good signal”.
“You have issued transfer orders for five (High Court) judges. But for six others, you have not issued,” a bench headed by Justice S.K. Kaul told Attorney General (AG) R. Venkataramani.
The bench, also comprising Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia, refused to accede to the request made by AG Venkataramani, the top-most law officer of the Centre, for deferring the hearing for a period of “one week”.
“This does not send a good signal if you ‘pick and choose’ transfers recommended by the Collegium. Don’t do selective transfers. It creates its own dynamics,” it said, adding that a total of six transfers recommended by Collegium are yet to be notified and the same is “something not acceptable”.
Further, the apex court said that a total of 13 names are pending with the Centre and five names are pending despite the reiteration by the Collegium.
“Out of recently recommended names, eight candidates have not been cleared and appointed. Some of these people are senior to others who have been appointed,” it recorded in its order, adding that there are five older recommended candidates where neither of the names have come back with any comment or there has been any progress.
The Supreme Court said that if a candidate does not know what seniority they will have on becoming a judge, it becomes difficult to persuade other eligible and deserving candidates.
In relation to reiterated names, AG Venkataramani said that “progress has been made”.
Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing on petitioners' behalf, said that a mandamus must be issued to the Centre for clearing the names reiterated by Collegium within a period of 24 hours.
The matter will not be taken up for hearing on December 5.
In the previous hearing, the top court had warned the Centre of "an unpalatable order" if it delays and continues to have the selective 'pick and choose' approach in notifying the appointment or transfer of judges after recommendations were forwarded by the Collegium.
It had said that selective appointments as the delays create huge anomalies in the system and disturbs inter-se seniority.
On September 26, the top court had said that it will closely monitor the issue of Collegium recommendations stuck with the Centre.
Earlier in February, the Supreme Court had warned the Centre over the delay saying it may result in both administrative and judicial actions which may not be palatable.
"Don't make us take a stand which will be very uncomfortable," it said.