CJI rejects ‘Security Clause’ to reject recommendations in the new MoPTop Stories

May 06, 2016 12:10
CJI rejects ‘Security Clause’ to reject recommendations in the new MoP

“Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur is believed to have rejected the Centre’s proposal in the Memorandum of Procedure on appointment of judges, reserving its right to reject candidates recommended by the collegium for appointment as judge on grounds of ‘national security’,

A clause in the draft MoP sent to the CJI, provides primacy to the Centre in rejecting any recommendation of the collegium without ascribing reasons, on the grounds of national security.  It is further reported that the draft MoP does not enable reconsideration of a rejection by the Government, even if the collegium reiterates its recommendation.

“Many clauses of the draft are repugnant to the judgments in the Second, Third and Fourth Judges cases. The government draft is an attempt by the government to control the appointments through the back door, even though the law is clearly against it. If the collegium agrees to that, it would mean going against the judgments. How can that be acceptable?” said a source in the judiciary.

“We will study the issues raised by the collegium after they reach us and take a view according to law. However, the draft sent by us was prepared in consultation with legal experts and we aren’t aware of any legal issues with it. But, let us wait,” said a senior government functionary.

Following are the major highlights of the new MoP

1. Evaluation of judgments delivered by a High Court judge during the last five years and initiatives undertaken for improvement of judicial administration should be a yardstick of merit for promotion as Chief Justice of a High Court

2. A High court should not have an acting chief justice for more than three months, while awaiting appointment of a full-time Chief Justice by the Collegium

3. Appointment of Judges in the Supreme Court, the “prime criteria” should be “seniority as Chief Justice/ judge of the High Court” as well as “merit and integrity

4. In picking SC judges, preference should be given to the Chief Justices of High Courts, keeping in view their inter-se seniority. In case a senior Chief Justice of a High Court is being overlooked for elevation to the Supreme Court, “the reasons for the same (should) be recorded in writing

5. Up to three judges in the Supreme Court need to be appointed from among the eminent members of the Bar and distinguished jurists with proven track record in their respective fields

6. For appointing lawyers and jurists as judges, the government has proposed that “it shall be open to all judges of the Supreme Court” to make suitable recommendations to the Collegium, which comprises the Chief Justice of India and four senior-most judges of the apex court

7. A permanent secretariat to be set up in the Supreme Court for maintaining records of high court judges, scheduling meetings of the SC Collegium, receiving recommendations as well as complaints in matters related to appointments

8. The Union Law Minister should seek the recommendation of the incumbent CJI for appointment of his successor at least one month prior to his retirement

9. A notice for vacancies of judges should be put up on the website of the High Courts at the beginning of the year for appointments.

10. A permanent secretariat for the High Court Collegium to process appointments.

By Premji

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