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What is the News? The Supreme Court of India has laid down a timeline for the Centre to clear names recommended by the High Court Collegiums. This order is essentially contrary to the Memorandum of Procedure(MoP).
About Memorandum of Procedure(MoP):
- Memorandum of Procedure(MoP) is an agreement between the judiciary and the government. It contains a set of guidelines for making appointments to the Supreme Court and High Court.
- Significance: The MoP is a crucial document as the Collegium system of appointing judges is a judicial innovation that is not mandated through legislation or text of the Constitution.
Evolution of MoP:
- The MoP evolved based on three SC decisions – the First Judges Case (1981), Second Judges Case (1993), and the Third Judges Case (1998).
- In 2016, the MoP re-negotiations took place following the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the National Judicial Appointments Commission(NJAC).
- However, a judicial order can overturn the negotiations as an order of the SC is the law of the land binding the government.
MoP on the appointment of High Court Judges:
- MoP starts with the recommendation of the High Court Collegium to the center for the appointment of other judges. The Chief Justice of the High Court(HC) heads the collegium.
- Once the center receives recommendations, it asks for the opinion of state governments and the input from the Intelligence Bureau (IB).
- The government then forwards the files, along with the IB inputs to the Supreme Court collegium.
- If the Supreme Court collegium clears the names, the files return to the central government. It then either notifies the appointments or sends them back with objections or its views.
- At this stage, the Supreme court collegium can seek additional inputs on the government’s opinion. Accordingly, it can either reject or reiterate the proposal.
- If the collegium reiterates its decision, then, under the MoP, the government is bound to notify the appointments.
- However, the MoP does not specify a timeframe for the central government to act on a collegium decision.
Source: Indian Express