New Delhi: The Centre today made it clear to the Supreme Court that its Collegium will have to take decision and make recommendations to the government for filling vacant posts of judges at the Meghalaya High Court, which presently has only two judges.
Attorney General K K Venugopal told a bench comprising justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta that no collegium recommendations regarding filling up of vacancies in the high courts of Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura were “pending” as of now with the government.
“The vacancies were filled up within a month of collegium recommendations in these matters,” he told the bench.
He referred to an affidavit filed by the government and said that as on date, there were three judges each in the high courts of Manipur and Tripura.
“The problem is in the Meghalaya High Court where there are only two judges,” Venugopal said, adding, “so far as Meghalaya is concerned, the Supreme Court Collegium should see if somebody has to be transferred there”.
“The collegium will have to take a decision,” he said.
To this, Justice Lokur observed, “That is for the Collegium to see, not for us”.
The apex court had earlier noted that the Manipur High Court had only two judges against a sanctioned strength of seven, the Meghalaya High Court had one judge (at that time) against the sanctioned strength of four, while the Tripura High Court had only two judges against sanctioned strength of four.
Earlier, Venugopal had told the top court that its Collegium had been recommending only few names to fill up huge vacancies in the high courts across the country, while the apex court had hit out at the government for keeping the names recommended by the Collegium pending.
The apex court is dealing with a matter in which the issue relating to vacancy of judges in these three high courts had emerged.
On April 17, while hearing a plea filed by a man seeking transfer of his case from Manipur High Court to Gauhati High Court, the apex court had noted that the situation in the high courts in Northeast states like Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura was “critical” due to the vacancy of judges there.