The Madras Bar Association (MBA) has filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court calling for strict timelines to be implemented at every stage of the process of judicial appointments..The petition calls for directions to the Centre to process recommendations made by the Supreme Court and High Court Collegia. It states,.“The arbitrary and inordinate delay by the Executive in appointment of Judges to the Higher Judiciary is violative of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.”.It is no secret that the Executive has failed to act on a large number of recommendations made by the Supreme Court Collegium. The petition points out that more than a hundred appointments to the high courts are in limbo, having been stuck at various stages of the appointment process. This, it is contended, amounts to an exercise of indirect veto by the Executive..With a view to preventing this from happening any longer, the Court has been urged to set specific timelines in the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for appointment of judges..“…the existing MOPs are entirely silent on the timelines for appointment of Judges to this Hon’ble Court and Permanent Judges to the High Courts, thus giving the Executive a carte blanche to stonewall the recommendations sent by the respective Collegia.”.It is further argued that though the MoPs do not provide a specific timeframe within which appointments must be processed, the Supreme Court in the Second Judges case stressed that undue delays must be avoided. That judgment states,.“On initiation of the proposal by the Chief Justice of India or the Chief Justice of the High Court, as the case may be, failure of any other constitutional functionary to express its opinion within the specified period should be construed to mean the deemed agreement of that functionary with the recommendation, and the President is expected to make the appointment in accordance with the final opinion of the Chief Justice of India…”.The Executive and the Judiciary have yet to reach a consensus on the MoP, which was urged to be modified by the Supreme Court back in November 2015. However, the Supreme Court clearly mentioned that appointments would not be on hold for the time being..In this light, the petition has put forth three questions that would involve interpretation of the Constitution for the Court to answer:.Whether the Executive is duty bound to process the recommendations of the Collegium for appointment of Hon’ble Judges to the Higher Judiciary in a time-bound manner or within such reasonable timeframe fixed by this Hon’ble Court?Whether the arbitrary inaction and inordinate delays in filling up the vacancies in the Higher Judiciary, despite receiving recommendations from the Collegium, is violative of Articles 14, 19 and 21 for denial of fundamental right to access to justice?Whether this Hon’ble Court has the powers to issue suitable directions or binding guidelines for effective, time-bound and seamless implementation of Memoranda of Procedure [finalised pursuant to Second Judges and Third Judges]?.The petition also highlights the burgeoning vacancies across the twenty-four high courts in the country, as a result of the stalling of appointments. As per the latest statistics, 420 high court posts are lying vacant, while the Supreme Court has 8 vacancies..“…the failure to fill up the vacancies has exponentially increased the workload on the sitting Hon’ble Judges of the Higher Judiciary. As a result, the quality of justice delivery system has been adversely impacted, and further delays would render the functioning of courts unmanageable…”.Reference is also made to strikes held at the High Courts of Karnataka and Calcutta protesting the number of the vacancies..It has therefore been prayed that the Supreme Court fix definitive timelines, wherever absent, for every step of the process for appointments of judges to the Apex Court and the high courts..The petition has been drawn by advocates Rahul Unnikrishnan and N Sai Vinod and will be argued by Senior Advocate Arvind Datar. The matter has been listed for July 2 – the day the Court reopens – before the Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.