New Delhi, Nov 26 (UNI) Chief Justice of India, Justice K G Balakrishnan, today made it clear that the supremacy of Supreme Court Collegium, headed by the CJI shall continue in the matter of appointment of High Court and Supreme Court judges.
The CJI was speaking on the occasion of Law Day function, organised by Supreme Court Bar Association(SCBA).
The CJI asserted that he has been strictly following Supreme Court judgment, laying down that the recommendation of the CJI for appointment of High Court and Supreme Court judges is binding on the governmemt and Justice Balakrishnan went on to add that he will continue to abide by the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in Advocate- on-Record (AOR) Association's case.
The CJI made clear that various steps have been taken to streamline the process of election of judges, to ensure that only man of integrity and high standards are elevated to the bench.
While pleading for enhancing the strength of judges in all the courts in the country to clear the backlog of pending cases, the CJI revealed that in subordinate courts, 2,63,89,840 cases were pending as on September 30,2008. Total pendency in High Courts as on Novenber 1, 2008 was 58,35,707 cases.
Allahabad High Court topped the list of high courts, having maximum pendency of cases at 8,87,402. While Sikkim High Court has the lowest pendency of 65 cases only.
The apex court has over 57,000 cases pending.
Union Law Minister H R Bhardwaj, who also spoke on the occasion, indicated that pay hike for the Supreme Court and high court judges is imminent as the Union Cabinet meeting is likely to be held tomorrow.
Mr Bhardwaj was, however, strongly opposed to the idea of police investigation against the sitting judges and said no police constable should be sent to a judge for investigation, as it would destroy the independence of judiciary.
The Law Minister reminded the judiciary that slowly and steadily the issue of more transparency in the appointment of judges was being raised by different quarters. He, however, hastened to add that it was for the judiciary to decide and the issue should be left to the CJI, as the leader of Indian Judiciary.
Union Minister of State for Law K Venkatapathy pleaded for more transparency in the appointment of judges and laid emphasis on the formation of National Judicial Commission.
Attorney General of India Milon K Banerjee and SCBA President P H Parekh also spoke on the occasion.
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