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Dignity and Honour of Judiciary Going Down by the Day, Supreme Court Judge Kurian Joseph Writes to CJI Dipak Misra

Writing to the CJI days after his colleague Justice J Chelameswar warned the Chief Justice against governmental interference, Justice Joseph pointed out that letting the government sit over recommendations would eventually impact the independence of the judiciary.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:April 12, 2018, 9:51 AM IST
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Dignity and Honour of Judiciary Going Down by the Day, Supreme Court Judge Kurian Joseph Writes to CJI Dipak Misra
File photo of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
New Delhi: Senior Supreme Court judge Kurian Joseph has cautioned Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra that "dignity, honour and respect of this institution is going down day by day" because of the judiciary's inability to get judges appointed.

Writing to the CJI days after his colleague Justice J Chelameswar warned the Chief Justice against governmental interference, Justice Joseph pointed out that letting the government sit over recommendations would eventually impact the independence of the judiciary.

CNN-News18 has accessed the copy of the letter written by the judge to the CJI, which has also been marked to the other judges in the top court.

Justice Joseph called the current state of affairs as "a threat to the very life and existence of the institution”, and regretted that "CJI's personal efforts have not been fruitful".

The trigger for the letter is the silence of the Executive with regard to two names that have been proposed for appointment in the Supreme Court by its Collegium, which is headed by the CJI and also has Justice Joseph as its member.

The Collegium had in January cleared names of Uttarakhand HC Chief Justice KM Joseph and senior lawyer Indu Malhotra for elevation as judges in the apex court. But the government has been sitting on the recommendations ever since.

“It is the first time in the history of this court where nothing is known as to what has happened to a recommendation after three months," stated Justice Joseph, adding siting over files by the government was" abuse of power".

The letter dated April 10 further said: "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.”

According to Justice Joseph, this episode may serve as a message to all the 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?” asked Justice Joseph, imploring upon the CJI to constitute a bench of the seven most senior judges to deal with the issue of delay in appointment on the judicial side.

Justice Joseph's letter follows the concerns expressed by Justice Chelameswar in his letter dated March 23 whereby the most senior judge in the top court had raised the issue of non-appointment of a judge in Karnataka HC despite the Collegium recommending his name twice.

Justice Chelameswar had then reproached the government for making it a norm to sit over the Collegium's recommendations. He had also emphasised that "bonhomie between judiciary and executive will sound the death-knell to the democracy".

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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