Chandigarh: The Congress Party on Monday said Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur's concern over the government not appointing judges in various High Courts was alarming and alleged Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants a captive and not an independent judiciary.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala trained his guns at the Prime Minister for stalling the appointments recommended by the Supreme Court collegium.
"Memorandum of appointment of judges is deliberately not being cleared by Prime Minister Modi because he wants a captive judiciary and not an independent judiciary," he said.
"A courageous Chief Justice of India, in an unprecedented move, has lodged a serious protest on account of the continuing logjam in appointment of judges... 70 High Court judges' appointments have been cleared by the CJI and collegium, but Prime Minister Modi has stalled it," he added.
Expressing his disappointment over Prime Minister Modi's address on the occasion of the nation's 70th Independence Day, the CJI said he was hoping that there would have been a mention on the appointment of additional judges in his speech.
Thakur, who hoisted the tri-colour on the Supreme Court lawns, called on the Prime Minister to take action for the sake of delivering justice to the people who have great expectations from the nation's legal system.
"I was hoping that there would be talk about justice, about the appointment of judges. These days, cases are piling up and so are peoples' expectations which are making things very difficult. Which is why I have time and again made this request that attention be given to this matter as well," he said.
On Friday, the Supreme Court had accused the Narendra Modi-led government of "sitting over" judges' appointments.
The total pendency is 2.24 crores cases in various courts as of August 12, 2016. There are 478 judicial posts to be filled up in various high courts. The Supreme Court itself has three vacancies.
The apex court asserted that time has come to take judicial note of appointments and transfers, which have not been made despite the collegiums' clearance eight months ago.
Regarding the collegium, the apex court stated that 75 names of High Court judges have been cleared, but have not been approved.
"The vacancies in High Courts have increased to 43 percent when the pendency in high courts has reached to four million cases. If the government has any objection on the names, it should be sent back to the collegiums with relevant matter, but the process can't be stalled," the court observed.
The CJI sought a reply from Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi over the delay in appointment of judges as recommended by the collegium.
He said, "Don't force us to pass orders to remove the logjam."