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CJI Wasn't Consulted as Govt 'Unilaterally' Segregated Names, Cleared Only Indu Malhotra as SC Judge: Sources

Highest judiciary is upset with the Central government's decision to “unilaterally” segregate the names sent by the Collegium for elevation as judges in the Supreme Court.

Utkarsh Anand | CNN-News18

Updated:April 26, 2018, 1:07 PM IST
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CJI Wasn't Consulted as Govt 'Unilaterally' Segregated Names, Cleared Only Indu Malhotra as SC Judge: Sources
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The stage is set for a fresh row between the judiciary and the executive.

Highest judiciary is upset with the Central government's decision to “unilaterally” segregate the names sent by the Collegium for elevation as judges in the Supreme Court.

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.

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.

According to the sources, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra was not kept in loop by the government about the segregation of names. The CJI was not consulted nor was his consent sought before the government decided to go ahead with only one name.

This unilateral segregation has upset many judges in the apex court, in particular those who form part of the Collegium.

An urgent meeting of the judges is likely to be called during the day to discuss the issue and respond appropriately to the government, sources told CNN-News18.

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 R M 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.

Conveying his strong displeasure, Lodha wrote, “You have segregated the proposal with respect to Gopal Subramanium from the other three names, which have now been referred back… Subramanium has in the meantime withdrawn his consent… He has also reiterated his withdrawal of consent… I am left with no choice but to withdraw the proposal relating to him and in view thereof, the occasion for reconsideration of the proposal relating to him by the collegium does not arise.”

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| Edited by: Mayur Borah
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