Monday, Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju stated that the demand to include a government nominee in the Supreme Court and high courts Collegiums was consistent with the apex court’s suggestion for “precise follow-up action” while striking down the National Judicial Appointment Commission (NJAC) Act.
Rijiju was replying to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who described the Central government’s proposal as “very dangerous” and insisted that there should be no government involvement in judicial nominations.
“I hope you honour Court’s direction! This is exactly what the Supreme Court Constitution Bench told the National Judicial Appointment Commission Bench to do when the National Judicial Appointment Commission Act was thrown out. “The Supreme Court Constitution Bench had ordered a reorganisation of the MoP (Memorandum of Procedure) of the collegium system,” the minister tweeted.
I hope you honour Court’s direction! This is precise follow-up action of the direction of Supreme Court Constitution Bench while striking down the National Judicial Appointment Commission Act. The SC Constitution Bench had directed to restructure the MoP of the collegium system. https://t.co/b1l0jVdCkJ
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) January 16, 2023
“Everything in the letter to the Honorable Chief Justice agrees with what the Supreme Court Constitution Bench has said and ordered.” It’s not wise to play politics, especially in the name of the Judiciary. “The Indian Constitution is supreme, and no one is above it,” Rijiju remarked.
In a letter to the Chief Justice of India, D. Y. Chandrachud, the law minister, “suggested” that a government candidate be included in deciding who will be on the short list of judges. His letter followed the Supreme Court’s last hearing on a petition by the Advocates Association of Bengaluru seeking contempt proceedings against the Centre for delaying the appointment of judges, notwithstanding the Collegium’s recommendations.
Reputable sources stated In his letter to The Deccan Era, Rijiju noted that the finalisation of the Memorandum of Procedure involving the nomination of judges was “pending” and offered “suggestions on how it can be simplified most effectively.”
The Congress attacked the BJP-led central government in response to the union law minister’s letter to CJI D.Y. Chandrachud. The government was accused of attempting to “capture” the Judiciary.
“The Vice President’s offensives. The Attorney General’s assaults. This is a carefully planned fight with the legal system to scare it and take it over completely. The Collegium need reformation. But what this government desires is absolute submission. In an interview with The Deccan Era, its prescription is a poison pill for an independent judiciary, said Jairam Ramesh, chief of communication for the Congress.
In November, Rijiju said that the way the Collegium chooses judges was “alien” to the Constitution. This caused a fight with the highest court. Since then, the tug-of-war between the Supreme Court and the Centre has persisted, with Vice-President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar supporting the claims of the union law minister.
The government and the Supreme Court Collegium failed to reach a compromise on the memorandum of procedure (MoP) governing the appointment, promotion, and transfer of apex court and high court judges, even after nearly seven years, which has been deemed alarming by a parliamentary panel.
(With inputs from PTI)