In a scathing attack, the Supreme Court today said the government cannot bring the judiciary to a "grinding halt" by not appointing High Court judges despite the recommendations of its collegium long ago and said it could as well close the courts and lock "justice out".
"You cannot bring the entire institution (of judiciary) to a grinding halt. If there is a problem with the name of a person, please send it back and ask us to reconsider," a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur told Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, representing the Centre, in a packed courtroom.
Expressing deep anguish over the delay in appointment of judges in high courts, the bench also comprising Justice D Y Chandrachud and L Nageswara Rao gave the example of the Karnataka High Court where one of the floors, having court rooms, is locked due to lack of judges.
"You may now as well close court rooms down and lock justice out," the bench, which initially threatened to summon the secretaries of the PMO and the Law Ministry to appear before it with the files, said.
The bench was irked when Rohatgi, at the outset, raised the issue of non-finalisation of the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) as one of the reasons hindering the appointment process and said it was necessary in pursuance of the recent apex court judgement, which quashed the NJAC Act.