The Supreme Court on Friday said it has not accepted the Centre’s stand of rejecting the 43 names recommended by the apex court Collegium for their appointment as judges of the various high courts. The names have now been sent back to the government for reconsideration. With the judiciary’s stand, the government will now be in a difficult situation as the new Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) is yet to be finalised.
With the present procedure, once the Collegium reiterates the names sent back to them, the government is bound to accept them and clear them for appointment as judges.“We have reiterated 43 names for the appointment as judges of high courts which were rejected by the government and have been sent back for reconsideration,” a Bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice A R Dave said. The apex court stated this after Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi reminded the Bench about the statement made by him during the last hearing on Tuesday.
“Out of total 77 names, 34 names have been cleared for the appointment and rest 43 recommendations have been sent back to the apex court Collegium for reconsideration,” the AG, appearing for the Centre, had told the bench.
The CJI who heads the five-member Collegium of judges told him that “we have seen”.
Interestingly, the case has now been slated for further hearing in January, next year, when Chief Justice Thakur will retire.With the ball thrown back into the Centre’s court, the Attorney General said that the government will have to study and examine the reasons of the Supreme Court Collegium while rejecting its objections to the names recommended by it for appointment of judges to high courts. “The government will start processing the files once again. If it has come late yesterday or today, the reasons have to be seen as to how the Collegium had dealt with the objections (of the Centre) on the names recommended by it,” Rohatgi said .
Meanwhile, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani told the Chief Justice that decisions of apex court Collegium regarding appointment and transfer of judges for the higher judiciary were being “frustrated by politicians”.
Jethmalani’s submission came on behalf of an advocate from the Gujarat Bar Association seeking intervention in the ongoing proceedings relating to the appointment of judges for higher judiciary. Referring to the matter pertaining to transfer and alleged conduct of Justice M R Shah of the Gujarat High Court, he said the situation there was too bad, but did not elaborate.
The bench, after hearing his submissions, allowed the application seeking intervention in the matter.