On October 09, 2023, the Centre said that the names of 70 judges had been sent to the Supreme Court Collegium the day after the SC pulled up Central Government for not clearing the names of candidates recommended for the appointment of judges by the High Court collegiums. The bench comprising Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul was hearing a petition seeking contempt action against the Union Ministry of Law and Justice for not adhering to the timeline given in the 2021 judgment of the SC for clearing collegium proposals.
The top Court adjourned the hearing till October 20, 2023, stating “Hopefully you’ll have some good news for us before Navratri.” The order reads, “Since you are always at the receiving end, today there are some compliments for you. The positive development is that a large number of recommendations from the High Courts pending with the ministry have finally been forwarded to the collegium. It would not be correct to say that they are pending with the Collegium, as they have been received just on the anvil of the last hearing, or in the last two days. The collegium requires the opinion of consultee judges to be taken and processing to be done, which is underway and will be done at the earliest…”
Earlier, the SC bench pointed out that “There were 80 recommendations pending until last week when 10 names were cleared. Now, the figure is 70, of which 26 recommendations are of transfer of judges, seven are reiterations, nine are pending without being returned to the collegium and one case is of appointment of the Chief Justice to a sensitive high court.” Along with this, the bench also addressed the matter related to the SC Collegium's recommendation to elevate Justice Sidharth Mridul of the Delhi High Court as Chief Justice of the Manipur High Court. Justice Kaul said “By next date. I want this to be done. I am being very polite, Let me be polite.”