After the Supreme Court criticised the Narendra Modi-led NDA government for its lackadaisical attitude to the appointment of judges, the Centre on Monday cleared the appointment of ten judges for the high courts of Gauhati and Delhi.
According to The Times of India, the government has sent the names to President Pranab Mukherjee for his assent now.
The report further said that the five appointments for the Delhi High Court are from the judicial service and the five for Gauhati High Court are both from the bar and state judicial service. The government is also considering recommendations for 35 judges in the Allahabad High Court.
The apex court had on Friday accused the government of "trying to starve out the cause of justice by not appointing judges".
"You cannot bring the entire institution (of judiciary) to a grinding halt," the Supreme Court had told the government while expressing anguish over the delay in appointment of judges in high courts, despite recommendations made by the collegium in this regard.
"Courts rooms are locked down. Do you want to lock down the judiciary?" a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur had said.
The ANI had reported that "the apex court is particularly peeved at the pendency of 35 appointments it had cleared for the Allahabad High Court — the first batch of eight on 28 January and the second for appointment of 27 judges in August — both are yet to be notified. The Allahabad High Court is functioning with less than 50 percent of its strength with just 77 judges against the approved strength of 160."
The court pointed a similar situation in Karnataka High Court, where several court rooms were locked because there were no judges, PTI had said.
The apex court was hearing two public interest litigation cases that sought filling up of judicial vacancies in various courts across India. According to CNN-News18, the collegium has named four Supreme Court and 52 high court judges since January, but the central government has been sitting on the proposal.
Earlier, the Centre had on 14 September told the apex court that there was "no blame game" or "logjam" in appointments and transfer of judges for higher judiciary but had blamed the high courts for "pretty much delaying" in starting the process.
The apex court had said that it would not tolerate "logjam in judges' appointment" and would intervene to "fasten accountability as the justice delivery system is collapsing".
The bench had said that if the government had reservation about any name, it could always come back to the collegium. However, the Centre has been sitting on the names proposed by the collegium since January, and that has irked the Supreme Court.
With inputs from PTI