The government is ensuring that "inconvenient" but able judges are not being appointed by sitting on the recommendations of the Supreme Court collegium, the second senior-most judge in the apex court has said in an explosive letter.
Instead of elevating the judicial officer concerned as a judge in the HC or to write back to the Collegium in case of contentions, the Law Ministry wrote directly to Chief Justice of Karnataka HC Justice Dinesh Maheshwari for re-initiating an inquiry against the judicial officer.
"I want to read out a statement of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of May 11, 2016 where he said and I quote: 'The manner in which encroachment of legislative and executive authority by India's judiciary is taking place, probably financial power and budget making is the last power that you have left.' This reflects their mindset to control the judiciary", he said.
According to The Indian Express, the letter which has also been copied to 22 other judges of the Supreme Court stated that the government has been selective in accepting recommendations of the Supreme Court Collegium for appointment of judges to high courts.
"Someone from Bangalore has already beaten us in the race to the bottom".
Describing the High Court chief justice as "more loyal than the King", Justice Chelameswar wrote in the letter that the government "asking the HC to re-evaluate our recommendation in this matter has to be deemed improper and contumacious". He said that any correspondence, clarificatory or otherwise, had to be between the executive and the Supreme Court.
Justice Chelameswar, who had in January held a press conference to highlight grievances against CJI Dipak Misra.
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Bhushan, who is also the convenor of the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms, has alleged that the CJI has apparently committed several acts of serious misconduct that should be inquired into by a committee of three or five judges of the apex court. "The role of the high court ceases with its recommendation", Justice Chelameshwar says in the letter. Attempts were always made to treat the Chief Justices as Heads in the Secretariat. "So much for our independence and pre-eminence as a distinct State organ".
Bhat's name was later recommended after the probe had given him a clean chit.
As part of the protest, the lawyers did not attend the court works.
It further said that the matter can thereafter be considered in the "contempt or inherent jurisdiction of this court". Justice Misra later asked the high court to halt a probe against the judge.
"Tax payers' money is lost on account of judicial and public time being lost". On November 9, while Court number two was hearing the writ petition filed by Kamini Jaiswal, seeking an investigation into alleged bribery in the Prasad Educational Trust case, the registrar brought an administrative note to the court, which was thereafter ordered to be annexed to the order passed by the court on that date.
The matter, the court said, may be listed for consideration of the above affidavit on Wednesday, July 4 before the appropriate Bench.