Govt again asks SC to revisit procedure to appoint judges

SansadTV Bureau
File Photo of Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi.

File Photo of Supreme Court of India building in New Delhi.

Citing the case of former Calcutta high court judge C S Karnan, the government has once again asked the Supreme Court collegium to review the present document on appointment of judges, according to a senior government functionary.

Secretary (Justice) in the Law Ministry has written to the Supreme Court Registrar General pointing to the July 5 judgement of the apex court in which two judges had called for the need to revisit the process of selection and appointment of judges.

Referring to certain paragraphs of the concurring order on the Justice Karnan contempt case, the government has asked the collegium — a body of India’s five top judges that clears judicial appointments to the high courts and the Supreme Court – to review the memorandum of procedure.

Judicial appointments as of now are being carried out based on the old MoP.

After a bench headed by Justice J S Khehar ruled in December, 2015 in favour of a fresh Memorandum of Procedure (MOP) – a document which guides appointments and elevation of Supreme Court and high court judges – a new draft was sent to the collegium by the law ministry.

After several rounds of talks, the collegium had once again sent back the draft to the law ministry reiterating its objections on various clauses. One of the clauses rejected by the collegium is on national security on which government wanted a right to reject recommendation for appointment as a judge.

The judiciary had also objected a clause that calls for setting up a secretariat for vetting and clearing names for judges before the collegium takes them up.

Parliament had passed the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act (NJAC). But the law, which sought to scrap the two-decade old collegium system was struck down by the apex court in October, 2015. In a separate order in December, 2015, the bench asked the government to come up with a fresh MoP in consultation with the CJI.