The Group of Ministers, which finalised the draft Memorandum of Procedure (MoP), is likely to respond to the objections raised by the Supreme Court collegium to the document that will guide future appointments of judges to the apex court and the high courts, within three weeks.
The collegium had on May 30 returned to the government the revised MoP suggesting changes to certain clauses.
The clause on right to reject a recommendation in national interest, as proposed by the government, is contrary to the current practice where it is bound to accept a recommendation by the collegium comprising four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court and the CJI, if it reiterates the same.
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The revised MoP further provides that once the Centre has rejected a recommendation it will not be bound to reconsider it even after reiteration by the collegium.
These are among various clauses which have not gone down well with the collegium.
The government is likely to take three weeks to respond to the collegium’s observations on the MoP, the sources said.
A copy of the observations made by collegium has already been sent to Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi seeking his opinion.
The AG had played a key role in finalising the draft MoP. The GoM headed by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had drafted the document which was handed over to Chief Justice of India T S Thakur by Law Minister D V Sadananda Gowda in March.
“Since it was the GoM which had finalised the draft, it is natural that it responds to the observations made by the collegium. But first we have to await what the AG says on the observations made by the collegium,” a senior functionary said.
The memorandum was revised after a Supreme Court bench asked the government to rewrite it in a bid to make the collegium system more transparent.
Addressing a press conference on April 24 after the joint conference of chief justices of high courts and chief ministers here, the CJI had said the core of the document, based on a Supreme Court judgement, will remain “unaltered” that the collegium will make recommendations.
“Things like the number of judgements a candidate has delivered are contributory in nature,” he had said.
Parliament had enacted the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act to overturn the over two-decade old collegium system where judges appoint judges. The law was struck down by the apex court in October last year, paving the way for the return of the collegium system.