Govt blocking appointment of most deserving judge to SC: Justice AP Shah

Pressing for the need of an immediate reform in the judiciary, Justice AP Shah said: "The time has come to do away with the collegium system and relook at the opaque system that the judges have constructed for themselves.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi | Updated: March 10, 2018 3:36 pm
Central government blocking appointment of most deserving judge to SC: Justice AP Shah Former chief justice of the Delhi High Court AP Shah (File photo)

Former Chief Justice of Delhi High Court A P Shah on Friday said the central government was blocking the appointment of “most deserving judge” Justice K M Joseph to the Supreme Court as recommended by the collegium.

He added the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court will be a “crucial test of office” for Chief Justice Dipak Misra. Justice Shah was speaking at the B G Verghese Memorial Lecture on ‘Chief Justice – First Among Equals.’

Pressing for the need of an immediate reform in the judiciary, he said: “The time has come to do away with the collegium system and relook at the opaque system that the judges have constructed for themselves. And most certainly, this is an opportunity to introduce reform in the allocation of cases. The role played by the CJI as master of the roster should be more consultative process than it is today,” Justice Shah said. “It would be wonderful if the present CJI would take up these issues. In any case, Justice (Ranjan) Gogoi has raised some of these questions, and if he is indeed next in line to the office of CJI, he must use his time to change these processes,” he said.

Referring to the process of appointment of judges, Shah said, “The Supreme Court had struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) law,…but directed the Centre to revise the existing MoP…A two-judge bench in RP Luthra asked the Centre to explain why the MoP had not been finalised as yet. The four judges, who held the press conference, in their letter to the Chief Justice, said that a two-judge bench could not have dealt with a matter that was already decided by a five-judge Constitution. Besides, the allocation of the case to a two-judge bench and the events that occurred thereafter and even more recently in the last week when the government blocked the appointment of Justice K M Joseph – I must say he is the most deserving judge for elevation to the Supreme Court – the MoP is going to be a crucial test for the office of the Chief Justice, whether it is this one or the next.”

He also said their remain “concerns” over the roster that have been made public by the CJI. “After the press conference, the Chief Justice made public the roster for the Supreme Court. On the face of it, it is a step towards transparency. But on closer observation, a few concerns emerge. For example, he has kept all the PILs to himself, except social justice. As a result, all PILs, the appeals/SLPs against orders passed by High Courts in PILs will also go to the CJI, or the CJI will allot it to a bench of his choice. That is the essence of the roster which has been declared. More importantly, all accountability matters have all been kept with the CJI,” Shah said.

“In the present scenario, in the roster made public, we see that all four judges who made this public declaration are kept out of all important matters, be it the Ayodhya case, the Aadhaar matter, or the land acquisition row. While it is true that seniority is not the sole criterion, but seniority does matter,” Shah said.

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  1. Praveen Sakhuja
    Mar 14, 2018 at 7:47 pm
    Government is bound to lay hurdles in appointments to deserving judges, for want iof puppets who favor decisions of government. It is for the last five years government could not decide the process for granting promotion or appointment of judges in various courts knowing the vacancy position. Our PM and other supporting ministers does not have time for such petty issues as they are busy promoting government agenda to make Bharat Mahan by own ideology.
    1. Rakesh Bhargava
      Mar 10, 2018 at 5:03 pm
      All these retd judges many of whom got promoted because of political masters. Still speak their language. If others criticize judges, it's a criminal act. But when sitting judges criticize CJI, no action is taken. Rather all opposition parties supported shows clear game plan. If a PSU head takes a decision that can be criticized by any xyz. Punitive action is taken. But when a judge takes wrong decision, as stipulated by higher court, why lower court judge is never sent to jail? When any decisions taken by high court are challenged in supreme Court, why high court exists? A supreme Court judge questions CBI why high court decision is not challenged in supreme Court till now? Shows that judge is sure high court decision is wrong??? Why such system exists?
      1. Mast Malang
        Mar 10, 2018 at 3:18 pm
        No proof required that CJI is working as a helping hand of Government and if BJP wins 2019 election then post retirement justice Mishra will certainly get a very lucrative .
        1. K
          Mar 10, 2018 at 3:05 pm
          justice shah s agent of congress and all pseudo . why did he not suggest during ten years if congress misrule ?
          1. O
            Mar 10, 2018 at 2:58 pm
            It ought to be seniority merit and not seniority alone henceforth in the above context. Repeated Demands/lobbyings for some particular assignments, roster allocations etc seem funny in no other organisation/ins ution such demands for some particular desks/assignments would be accepted much less tolerated. . Repeated lobbyings continue in this context in support of such questionables going on in judiciary.for some months now. A sorry state of affairs in the SC.
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