The government on Friday defended its move to return to the Supreme Court collegium names of 43 candidates for appointment as judges in high courts, saying the decision was based on adverse intelligence reports and serious nature of complaints against them.
“The major reasons for referring back 43 recomendees to the Supreme Court collegium on the appointment of judges are views of consultee judges, views of constitutional authorities, adverse Intelligence Bureau inputs, serious nature of complaints received against recommendees,” Minister of State for Law P P Chaudhary told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
Out of the 43 names returned to it by the government for reconsideration, the Supreme Court collegium has “reiterated” its recommendation for 37, deferred three proposals while three other names are still with it.
On November 18, the Supreme Court had informed the government that it had reiterated every one of the 43 names that was sent back by the government to the collegium for reconsideration.
“We have reiterated 43 names for the appointment as judges of high courts which were rejected by the government and have been sent back for reconsideration,” a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and A R Dave had said.
But Chaudhary told the upper house that the collegium has reiterated its recommendation for 37 candidates only. He had made a similar statement in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
In response to another question on vacancies in the Supreme Court, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply that the government has not received any proposal from the apex court collegium to fill up the existing seven vacancies.
The Centre had on November 15 told the apex court that it has cleared 34 names out of the 77 recommended by the collegium for appointment as judges in various high courts in the country.
The government had also apprised the apex court that no file with regard to the recommendations for appointment of judges was pending with it.