New Delhi: In the newest chapter of the ongoing tussle between the Union government and the Supreme Court over the Collegium of judges that decides on judicial appointments, the former has written to Chief Justice of India, D.Y. Chandrachud, calling for government representatives in the panels to appoint Supreme Court and high court judges.
Times of India has reported that the letter, by Union law minister Kiren Rijiju, suggests that Union government representatives be included in these search and evaluation panels. The letter says that this will “dispel a notion that opaqueness shrouds the process of selection of constitutional court judges,” according to TOI.
In his letter, Rijiju said that an updated Memorandum of Procedure on the appointment of judges was still “pending finalisation” and gave suggestions on how the process could be streamlined.
As the back and forth between the apex court and law ministry prolongs, the NJAC Act has been in the centre of discussions. Passed by the parliament and quashed by the Supreme Court in 2015, the Act had envisioned two-government representatives in the body that will appoint judges.
Last week, Vice-President Jagdeep Dhankhar launched a fresh attack on the Supreme Court for striking down the law, adding that he did not agree with the restriction imposed by the top court that parliament cannot amend the ‘basic structure’ of the constitution.
A couple of days before that, along with its third reiteration of the recommendation that Nagendra Ramachandra Naik be appointed a judge of the Karnataka high court, the Supreme Court collegium reminded the Union law ministry that the “government is bound to notify an appointment once the collegium’s decision is reaffirmed.”
Note: This article has been edited to reflect that Kiren Rijiju wanted government representatives in judicial appointment panels, not in the Supreme Court collegium as earlier reported by Times of India.