After facing repeated salvos from Chief Justice T.S. Thakur over delay in judges’ appointments, the Centre said it had no role in stalling them.
For almost a year-and-a-half — from August 2014 to December 16, 2015 — the entire judicial appointments process went into a deep freeze mode and vacancies piled up as litigation challenging the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) laws dragged on in the Supreme Court.
NJAC law, meant to replace the two-decade-old Collegium system of judicial appointments, was already in place on December 2014 after ratification by at least 20 States and on receiving Presidential assent.
NJAC had replaced the Collegium because the Supreme Court had never stayed the new law.
The government had even started the process of appointment of two eminent jurists into the Commission, but efforts were cut short when the then Chief Justice H.L. Dattu refused to be part of a high-level committee, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in order to select two eminent persons for the NJAC.