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HomeIndiaRequesting R&AW reports on proposals is not standard procedure: Govt

Requesting R&AW reports on proposals is not standard procedure: Govt

The administration informed Parliament on Friday that it is not customary to request R&AW assessments on recommendations for judicial appointments, with the exception of circumstances involving national security.

According to the Memorandum of Procedure for Appointment of Judges of High Courts, the proposals recommended by the High Court Collegium for appointment as High Court judges are to be considered in the light of any additional reports or inputs that the government may have for determining the suitability in regard to the names under consideration. The Ministry of Law and Justice responded in writing, “Accordingly, IB inputs are acquired and delivered to the SCC for making an assessment on the recommended.

Manish Tewari, a Congress member, questioned the administration about the custom of requesting R&AW reports before the nomination of Supreme Court justices. He also enquired as to whether candidates’ political views, online postings, and sexual orientation were taken into account while making judicial appointments.

The government stated in response that a candidate must “display great integrity, honesty, skill, a high order of emotional stability, firmness, serenity, legal soundness, competence and endurance,” citing the 1993 Second Judges case. The government stated that, in addition to the qualities listed above, the most crucial personal characteristics needed were moral vigour, ethical firmness and resistance to corrupting or venal influences, humility and lack of attachments, judicial temperament, zeal, and capacity to labour.

Tewari also demanded information on the number of times the administration had rejected Collegium recommendations between May 2019 and February 2023. The administration claimed that “appointment of the judges of the constitutional courts is a continuous, coordinated, and collaborative process between the executive and the judiciary” but declined to address the subject explicitly.

“It needs the permission and consultation of numerous constitutional authorities at the state and federal levels. To guarantee that only the most qualified applicants are selected as judges in the high courts, the government might ask for the suggestions given by the SCC under the collaborative process to be reconsidered.

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