Unprecedented: Centre Insults Judiciary, Overrides Collegium’s Recommendation To Make Judge’s Appointment Permanent.
The Centre ignored the recommendation of the Supreme Court of appointing Judge Ramendra Jain of the Punjab and Haryana High Court permanent.
The Centre has decided not to pay heed to a recommendation of the Supreme Court Collegium of making a High Court judge’s appointment permanent. The Modi government has instead only extended the judge’s tenure by six months.
In a report published on Monday, The Print has said that it is perhaps the first instance of the Centre taking a unilateral step of this kind since the Collegium was established.
The Supreme Court on March 26 had recommended that Judge Ramendra Jain of the Punjab and Haryana High Court be made permanent. But not only did the Centre sit on the recommendation till it passed the order just two hours before Jain’s term was to end, it also violated important norms.
According to the settled norms and Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for judicial appointments, it is the President who appoints a judge on the recommendation of the Supreme Court Collegium.
Jain was appointed as an additional judge for two years in 2015. His term was extended by one year in 2017.
“After waiting for the Centre to act,” The Print said, “The Supreme Court collegium reiterated its recommendation on 17 April, two days before Justice Jain’s term was to end. It also told the Centre that the issue of his transfer had already been dealt with on July 12, 2017, recording ‘specific reasons for retaining him in the Punjab and Haryana High Court’.”
But the Centre ignored the recommendation and extended Justice Jain’s tenure by six months, barely hours before his term was to end.
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra is yet to comment on a matter that may spell another controversy for the Supreme Court.
Earlier, Justice Kurian Joseph wrote to the CJI, urging him to act on non-appointment of judges by the Centre. The “very life and existence” of the Supreme Court of India is under threat and “history will not pardon us”, if the court doesn’t respond to the government’s unprecedented act of sitting on the Collegium’s recommendation to elevate a judge and a senior advocate to the apex court, Justice Kurian Joseph had said in the letter, details of which were published in The Indian Express report on April 12.
“It is the first time in the history of this court where nothing is known as to what has happened to a recommendation after three months,” Justice Kurian Joseph wrote in the letter.
The Collegium had recommended Senior Advocate Indu Malhotra and Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court Justice K M Joseph to be elevated as Supreme Court judges on January 10. But the Law Ministry had sought legal opinion to issue the warrant of appointment only for Indu Malhotra, according to an earlier The Indian Express report. It allegedly wanted to keep Justice K M Joseph’s case pending because, some believe, Justice K M Joseph in April 2016 had ruled against the Centre in the case of imposing President’s Rule in Uttarakhand.
In an unprecedented move on January 12, four senior sitting judges of the Supreme Court, including Justice Chelameswar and Justice Kurian Joseph, had addressed a press conference and complained that the administration of the country’s top court was not in order. The judges had said there was an urgent need to preserve the judiciary system to save the democracy of the country. The judges had said the government accepting the Collegium’s recommendations was becoming an exception and “sitting on them” the norm.