“Life & Existence Of SC Under Threat”, SC Judge Writes To CJI As Centre Sits On Collegium’s Recommendation
One of the senior-most Supreme Court Judge, Justice Kurian Joseph, has written to Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra urging the Supreme Court to act against the government’s delay in approving two appointments to the top court despite the collegium’s recommendation in January.
The letter was sent by Justice Kurian Joseph to CJI on April 9. He also sent copies to 22 other Supreme Court judges.
In January, the collegium of five senior-most judges, including Justice Kurian Joseph, had recommended the names of advocate Indu Malhotra and Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph to be elevated to the post of Supreme Court Judge.
It is speculated that the government is sitting on the name of Justice K M Joseph who in April 2016 ruled against the Centre in the case of imposing President’s Rule in Uttarakhand.
While the ministry wanted to approve Malhotra’s appointment, it has still not acted on it, since reportedly experts have advised against making different decisions on the names collegium recommended. If Malhotra’s name were approved, she would have been the first woman to be elevated directly from a lawyer to a Supreme Court Judge.
However, the government can return either one or both recommendations to the collegium, but if the names are reiterated by the collegium, the government would be duty-bound to provide warrants of appointment.
Justice Kurian Joseph’s letter
Mincing no words, Justice Kurian Joseph, who retires in November, wrote that “government owes a duty to take a call on the recommendation as soon as the same is sent from the Collegium. Failure to discharge their duty by sitting over on the recommendations of the Collegium doing nothing, in administrative law, is abuse of power.”
He warned that the delay in the appointment has resulted in the depreciation in the dignity of the institution. He wrote, “the dignity, honour and respect of this institution is going down day by day since we are not able to take the recommendations for appointment to this Court to their logical conclusion within the normally expected times.”
Warning that this sends out a message that the judges in line should not displease the Executive, he wrote, “more than anything else, it sends a wrong message which is loud and clear to all Judges down the line not to cause any displeasure to the Executive lest they should suffer. Is this not a threat to the independence of the judiciary?”
He also said that the “very life and existence” of the Supreme Court is under threat. He also said that if the SC does not act on the inaction of government then “the history will not pardon us”.
The collegium, at present, is headed by CJI Dipak Misra and consists of Justices J Chelameswar, R Gogoi, M Lokur and Kurian Joseph.
In January, in an unprecedented move, four sitting judges, Justice J Chelameswar, Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph, of the Supreme Court addressed the media. The press conference was prompted on the issue of appointment of judges in the case of death of special CBI Judge B H Loya.
The main topic of discussion during the press conference was about the issue of judicial appointments. This move seems like a protest against the recommendations of collegium regarding the judicial appointments, ignoring senior judges of the court. The press conference was first of its kind, and it was done at the residence of Justice Chelameswar, reports The Indian Express.
The Logical Indian take
Supreme Court is one of the most revered institutionsinf the country. The people place a great deal of trust in it. Some of the recent developments have however exposed a few glaring loopholes. Considering the letter of Justice Kurian Joseph, a delay of three months in the appointment of Judges to the top court of the country is an issue of deep concern. This is a clear abuse of power. As Justice Kurian Joseph pointed out, it sends a message to the Judges that the government must not be annoyed. The Logical Indian hopes that the SC seriously looks into this matter.