Another top judge of India’s highest court has written to the Chief Justice of India stating that the ‘very life and existence’ of the Supreme Court was under threat and “history will not pardon us,” if the court did not respond to the government’s unprecedented act of sitting on the collegium’s recommendation.
In a strongly-worded letter sent to 22 judges of the Supreme Court, Justice Kurian Joseph wrote on 9 April demanding that the top court “immediately constitute a seven judge bench to pass orders on the pending appointment,” reported Indian Express.
The Supreme Court collegium on 10 January had recommended the elevation of senior advocate Indu Malhotra and Justice KM Joseph, Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, to the apex court. Three months on, the central government has not approved the recommendation.
Justice Joseph, who along with Justices Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi and Madan Lokur had held an extraordinary press conference in January this year, said, “it is the first time in the history of this court where nothing is known as to what has happened to a recommendation after three months.”
If Justice Joseph’s demand is accepted, this would result in an open court hearing, where the country’s top seven judges could ask the Modi government to issue warrants for appointments of the judges within a stipulated time frame and failure to do so would make the government liable for contempt of court.
Justice Joseph’s letter follows another extraordinary letter written by Justice Chelameswar to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra last month demanding a full court on the intervention by the central government in appointment of judges to high courts. The second senior most judge had decided to write to CJI Misra after it emerged that Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari had initiated a probe against a judge recommended twice by the Supreme Court collegium for elevation to the High Court.
According to the judgement in the Second Judges Case, in case the Supreme Court Collegium reiterates a name, it is incumbent upon the Law Ministry to issue warrants for appointment of the person concerned to the High Court.
The current development comes amidst opposition parties coming together to sign an impeachment proceeding against CJI Misra. According to several media reports, among those, who’ve already signed the impeachment motion against the CJI include Kapil Sibal, Ghulam Nabi Azad and NCP’s Majeed Memon.