New Delhi: Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday accused the Centre of violating the law by holding back the appointment of Justice KM Joseph as a Supreme Court judge despite him being okayed by the Collegium.
On Wednesday, the government cleared appointment of senior advocate Indu Malhotra as a judge in the top court but kept the other name of Justice KM Joseph pending for consideration
Chidambaram, in a series of tweets, reminded the Centre that the recommendation of the SC Collegium is final and binding on the government. He also questioned the government’s motive by holding back judge’s elevation.
As the law stands now, the recommendation of the SC collegium is final and binding in the appointment of judges. Is the Modi government above the law?— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) April 26, 2018
What is holding up Justice K M Joseph's appointment? His State or his religion or his judgement in the Uttarakhand case?— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) April 26, 2018
In January, the Collegium had sent both the names together for appointment but the government has processed only one, with no further movement on the file relating to Justice Joseph, who is presently the chief justice of Uttarakhand High Court.
This unilateral segregation has upset many judges in the apex court, in particular those who form part of the Collegium
Many judges believe the government has acted in complete breach of the convention and the attempt is against the independence of the judiciary.
In 2014, when the NDA government segregated former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium from the panel of four names recommended for appointment as Supreme Court judges, then CJI RM Lodha had expressed his disapproval in a letter to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. He said the government should not adopt such “unilateral segregation” in the future.
“I don’t approve of segregation of proposal without my knowledge and concurrence…In future, such a procedure of unilateral segregation should not be adopted by the Executive,” Justice Lodha had then written.