Chief Justice of India Wednesday said the judiciary and the government will resolve all differences over the manner of appointing judges within two weeks. He said that there should not be any further delay in finalising the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP), which will guide judicial appointments in this country.
“There were three-four issues but we will resolve it now…we will finalise it (MoP) in two weeks,” said Justice Thakur on the sidelines of the second Justice J S Verma Memorial Lecture at the New Delhi. After delivering his lecture, Justice Thakur was coming out of the event when he was asked about resolving differences with Justice J Chelameswar over the ways collegium functioned. The CJI was also asked when would the MoP be finalised.
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Justice Thakur chose not to answer any questions related to Justice Chelameswar, who had declared he would not attend collegium meetings in future and that minutes of such meeting must be recorded.
However, the CJI looked positive about settling the differences with the government over the MoP . “I am not saying I expect to do it (finalising the MoP)…I am saying we will do it in two weeks,” said Justice Thakur. He added that the collegium was readying the final draft of the MoP that would be sent to the government for its finalisation.
The last draft of the MoP was sent by the government to the collegium in August wherein the government reiterated that it should have the power to reject any name recommended by the collegium for elevation on grounds of national security. This was included in the draft even though in May, the collegium had unanimously rejected the proposal, stating it would amount to interference in judiciary by the executive.
The government further refused to accept the collegium’s view against setting up a screening and evaluation committee to vet the names of lawyers before the collegium takes a final call. The Supreme Court collegium, which is headed by the CJI and comprises four other senior-most judges, is yet to respond to this draft of the MoP proposed by the government.
On his birthday on September 17, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a a breakfast meeting with Justice Thakur at Raj Bhavan in Gandhinagar. The CJI, who was in Gandhinagar at the state judicial academy, drove to Raj Bhavan and met the Prime Minister.
Later at a function, Justice Thakur had said, “When I met the Prime Minister in the morning for breakfast, (I) told him that coming to Gujarat gave me peace…Once you land here, you feel you have landed in a very very peaceful place. And who can feel these vibrations and reverberations more than those who hold high offices? Because you know so many things are connected to the office you hold. Therefore, I would say that I am lucky to be here with you this morning, and to share my thoughts with you.”