New Delhi: After Justice Jasti Chelameswar, another Supreme Court judge has written to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra over the non-appointment of judges by the Centre. In his letter, Justice Kurian Joseph wrote that the “very life and existence” of the Supreme Court is under threat and “history will not pardon us,” Indian Express reports. Justice Joseph has stated that “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.” He has urged Chief Justice Dipak Misra to establish a bench of seven senior-most judges to take up the matter suo motu of the government sitting on the two names.
Justice Joseph is a member of the collegium system in the Judiciary which recommends names for the elevation of judges to the Supreme Court. In his letter, Justice Joseph, who is due to retire in November 2018, has stated that the that “the dignity, honour and respect of this institution is going down day by day since we are not able to take the recommendations for appointment to this Court to their logical conclusion within the normally expected times”.
“…Government owes a duty to take a call on the recommendation as soon as the same is sent from the Collegium. Failure to discharge their duty by sitting over on the recommendations of the Collegium doing nothing, in administrative law, is abuse of power,” Justice Joseph states in his letter. He added: “More than anything else, it sends a wrong message which is loud and clear to all Judges down the line not to cause any displeasure to the Executive lest they should suffer. Is this not a threat to the independence of the judiciary?”
Justice Joseph has asked the Chief Justice of India for an intervention, stating that “if there is no normal delivery on completion of the gestation period, what is urgently done is a CaesarEan section. Unless such a surgical intervention is made at an appropriate time, the child in the womb dies.”
Justice Joseph’s letter comes shortly on the heels of Justice Chelameswar recently spoke at an event batting for more transparency in collegium meetings, where he had stated a proper performance assessment of high court judges for elevation to the top court was hardly done.
The Indian Express reports that the judge’s letter holds significance since the Centre is reportedly sitting on the name of Justice KM Joseph who had ruled against the Centre in April 2016 over the imposition of President’s rule in Uttarakhand.
Justice J Chelameswar had also written an unprecedented letter to the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, requesting him to address the concerns of alleged interference by the government in the judicial process. Justice Chelameswar, in his letter written on March 21, has cautioned that “the bonhomie between the judiciary and the government in any State sounds the death knell to democracy,” reports PTI.
Justice Chelameswar and Justice Joseph were both a part of the unprecedented press conference held in January earlier this year, where they had stated that the situation in the top court was “not in order” and many “less than desirable” things had taken place. Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph had addressed the media and had alleged improper allocation of cases by the CJI.