Justice J Chelameswar has written to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra demanding a full court on the intervention by the central government in appointment of judges to high courts.
Justice Chelameswar, who along with three other judges, Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph had held an unprecedented media briefing hurling serious allegations of impropriety against CJI Misra while allocating cases of political importance to junior judges. The second senior most judge 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.
CJI Misra, it’s believed, has not responded to Justice Chelameswar’s letter and is reportedly interacting with Justice Maheshwari.
Justice Maheshwari, according to a report by The Hindu, launched the inquiry solely on the basis of a letter from the central government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, in a letter to CJI Misra earlier this month, had highlighted that the Law Ministry headed by Ravi Shankar Prasad, was writing directly to him even though the established norms did not allow the Centre to directly communicate with the High Courts after the collegium had recommended a name for elevation. This, according to the Indian Express report, had stalled the elevation of a district and sessions judge, P Krishna Bhat, to the High Court despite a reiteration by the Supreme Court Collegium.
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.
Not so long ago, in his farewell speech, Justice Amitava Roy of the Supreme Court, had warned about the danger of judiciary losing credibility. Justice Roy, in his farewell speech had said, “what I intend to tell you is this, that we, being the guardian of the rule of law, need to secure the same. Otherwise the caveat is: extra legal elements and military muscles are waiting in the wings to take over. And that would spell the destruction of the institution. And that would mean our extinction because we survive for the institution. It is not otherwise.”