SC Collegium rejected Centre’s proposal on judges appointment
The war of words between the Supreme Court collegium and the Central Government is not yet over. Latest in the row is Supreme Court Collegium’s rejection of all the major proposals by the government for judges appointment to the higher judiciary. The government wanted to introduce the clause where the judges are appointed/elevated to the Supreme Court on the basis of “merit-cum-seniority” as the sole criterion rather than seniority-cum-merit. The central government also wanted that retired judges shall also be involved in the vetting process.
The top four judges of the Supreme Court including the Chief Justice of India has categorically rejected the government’s memorandum of procedure (MOP) over the judges appointments. The Government of India has proposed to the Collegium that during the elevation of the judges as the Chief Justice or to the Supreme Court primacy shall be given to the merit of the candidate rather than seniority alone”.
If the procedure merit-cum-seniority is accepted by the Supreme Court collegium, it means that that the senior judge who may not be the Chief Justice of the High Court can also be considered for his elevation to the Supreme Court. This also means that the junior judge in the High Court can also supersede the senior judge to became the Chief Justice of the High Court.
The fresh controversy over a memorandum of procedure for the judges appointment to the higher judiciary has again created a rift between the Supreme Court and Modi Government at the Centre, with the latter taking the firm stand that his government wants complete transparency in the selection process. The reason for drafting the new MoP for the appointment of judges is channeled after the decision of the 5 judges bench of Supreme Court declared the NJAC unconstitutional.
It is also whispered that the Supreme Court Collegium has also rejected the centre’s proposal to impose a cap of 10% or maximum 3 senior advocates from the bar to be directly appointed as the Supreme Court Judge. The collegium said that it is free to appoint as many advocates it finds deserving from the bar and cannot be bound by such suggestions of the government.