The Supreme Court and the Center on March 20 finally put an end to their 17-month long standoff when they cleared the memorandum of procedure (MoP) for the appointment of judges to the apex court and various state High Courts.
The decision was finally taken when the SC collegium, which was headed by the Chief Justice of India Jagdish Singh Khehar, decided to drop the objection that had become the bone of contention between them.
In 2015, TS Thakur, who was the Chief Justice at that time, had raised an objection to the Centre getting power to reject judges candidates and setting up secretariats in all the High Courts and the apex court so as to screen all the judge aspirants.
But after being in a stalemate for over a year and a half, the CJI was in a limbo and was thus forced to clear the MoP and dispose of the PIL that sought speedy filling of various judges spot (5 SC judges and nearly 500 HC judges).
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“The MoP has been cleared. Now the filling up of vacancy in the High Courts can be sped up. There is also a need to increase the post of judges in the High Courts. But the priority will be to fill the existing vacancies.” – CJI Khehar
The MoP would now be finalized and sent to the Centre for approval and hopefully, it would be adopted within this week.
Once the MoP is adopted the SC collegium hopes to have a speedy filling up of vacancies in various HCs and the apex court.
With both the Centre and the SC being in a standstill for over a year and a half, the courts across India were operating at below 60 per cent of their sanctioned strength, with a huge backlog of urgent cases still pending to be discussed.