The Centre has not been delaying the appointment of judges in higher judiciary, if any, was at the collegium end, the Supreme Court said Friday.
The Supreme Court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by NGO 'Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL)' which has alleged that the centre has been "indefinitely sitting" on the names recommended by the Supreme Court collegium for appointment of judges in the higher judiciary.
"Appointments are happening. As the Chief Justice, I am telling you that whatever is pending is pending before the Supreme Court collegium. Nothing is pending with the government," a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said.
Most of the recommendations with regard to appointment of judges in high courts were pending with the collegium headed by the CJI, it said.
"There are about 27 recommendations pending before the government and there are 70 to 80 pending before the Collegium, as the CJI, I am telling you," the CJI said.
Mr Bhushan, however, said that as per his knowledge, there were several recommendations pending with the government despite the reiteration by the collegium.
The Supreme Court refused to pass any directions for the time being and ordered listing of the PIL for hearing after six weeks.
"Having heard Prashant Bhushan, counsel appearing for the petitioner, we are of the view that the matter should await orders of the court at a later point of time. List the matter after six weeks," the bench said in its order.
Earlier, the court, on November 2, last year, had said that it would hear after eight weeks the PIL which alleged that the Centre has been "indefinitely sitting" on the names recommended by the court collegium for appointment of judges in the higher judiciary.
The court had not issued the notice to the centre on the PIL.
The plea said that the government cannot "frustrate" the process of appointment of judges in the Supreme Court and high courts in "an oblique way" by sitting on collegium's recommendations and not responding to names reiterated by it.
The petitioner has claimed that "stone-walling" of judicial appointments by the executive for "oblique and vested interests" amounts to interference in the due process of law and the independence and integrity of the judiciary.