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Before CJI spoke on Gopal’s rejection, he wrote to Govt: Shouldn’t happen in future

Chief Justice of India R M Lodha expressed his disapproval in a letter to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Written by Utkarsh Anand | New Delhi | Updated: July 4, 2014 8:30 am
lodha I don’t approve of segregation… without my knowledge, concurrence, he said.

A day before he publicly criticised the NDA government for its “unilateral” move to segregate former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium from the panel of four names recommended for appointment as Supreme Court judges by the collegium, Chief Justice of India R M Lodha expressed his disapproval in a letter to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, and said the government should not adopt such “unilateral segregation” in the future.

In his one-page letter sent on June 30, Lodha wrote, “I don’t approve of segregation of proposal without my knowledge and concurrence…In future, such a procedure of unilateral segregation should not be adopted by the Executive.”

According to highly placed sources, the letter was received by Prasad’s office on Wednesday, and is awaiting his directions.
Conveying his strong displeasure, Lodha wrote, “You have segregated the proposal with respect to Gopal Subramanium from the other three names, which have now been referred back… Subramanium has in the meantime withdrawn his consent… He has also reiterated his withdrawal of consent… I am left with no choice but to withdraw the proposal relating to him and in view thereof, the occasion for reconsideration of the proposal relating to him by the collegium does not arise.”

The letter stated that the Supreme Court collegium had recommended the four names — Calcutta High Court Chief Justice Arun Mishra, Orissa High Court Chief Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, senior advocate Rohinton Nariman and Subramanium — in order of seniority.

At a farewell function organised for Justice B S Chauhan on Tuesday, Justice Lodha had said the government’s decision was “not proper”.
“On my return from abroad on June 28, a file was placed before me by the Ministry of Law and Justice, indicating that out of the four names, three proposals had been approved and the name of Gopal Subramanium was segregated. It was done unilaterally… without my knowledge and consent,” he said.

“The first thing I had taken objection to was the segregation of Gopal Subramanium’s file unilaterally by the executive. It is not proper,” he said.

While the three other names were cleared, Subramanium’s elevation was blocked by the Modi government following a “negative” report by the CBI questioning his propriety as SG in the 2G case and his alleged links with former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, whose intercepted phone conversations are under CBI scrutiny.

The CJI had disclosed that he had met Subramanium for 75 minutes after his return and asked him tro reconsider his decision on withdrawal. But on June 29, Subramanium wrote another six-line letter reiterating his decision.

The CJI had said he was “shocked” and “disappointed” when Subramanium made his letter on withdrawal of consent public although he asked him to wait till his return on June 28.

Defending the government’s decision on Wednesday, Prasad had said it was based on “cogent, proper and sound grounds.” He had asserted that in the process of appointment of judges, the government had the right to be consulted.

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  1. A
    Adv.abdul qadir
    Jul 4, 2014 at 9:23 am
    Justice lodha is right in regard of subramaniam's elevation.govt.can not adopt a unilateral methodology in appointment of judges
    1. A
      Abdulraheman Patrawala
      Jul 4, 2014 at 2:32 am
      Modi Sarkar at Gujarat has given the same treatment to Justice Mehta in Lokayukta case. With respect, both Justice Mehta and Gopal Subramanium have proved to be fugitive virtues .“I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat. ” ― John Milton, Areopagitica . Aeropagitica was for the freedom of press and the recent is for the freedom of judiciary... THE NATION IS OBLIGED BY OUR LORDSHIP CJI.
      1. Alani Adana
        Jul 4, 2014 at 1:28 pm
        I regret to say that judiciary has long lost their "lordship" (if it is not wrong to say) In fact the lawyers and even .... in some case .......are advising how to cheat the judiciary.If a judge is always correct then how come revise peion ..etc.So the intelligence report is a must now to prevent security threat to our country.
        1. L
          Jul 4, 2014 at 10:10 am
          Govt. has segregated one name based on the intelligence or other agencies reports. To solve the problem, in future, collegeum should ask first the reports from the agencies for the candidates for selection without intimating Govt. and based on the report, it should send the names who clears all the criteria to the Govt. to avoid such type of situation any more.
          1. G
            Jul 4, 2014 at 4:03 am
            The CJI is now doing the same type of things as the political parties by airing his comments in public. This is high time that the Judicial Commission is established without delay and the monopoly of Judiciary is curtailed. There have been enough instances to prove that SC judges are also human beings and make errors.
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