Law min­is­ter may meet CJI to dis­cuss gov­tju­di­ciary dif­fer­ences


AMID grow­ing dif­fer­ences be­tween the gov­ern­ment and the ju­di­ciary over a host of is­sues, law min­is­ter Ravi Shankar Prasad is likely to meet Chief Jus­tice Di­pak Misra later this month.

Sources in the gov­ern­ment said the De­part­ment of Jus­tice in the Law min­istry has pre­pared a note for the min­is­ter on pend­ing is­sues to be raised at the pro­posed meet­ing. A law min­istry of­fi­cial said the two can meet to dis­cuss var­i­ous is­sues and that the meet­ing should not be hyped. “There are var­i­ous chan­nels for them to com­mu­ni­cate. If there is a meet­ing, there is noth­ing un­usual about it,” said the of­fi­cial.

The el­e­va­tion of jus­tice KM Joseph and se­nior SC lawyer Indu Mal­ho­tra to the SC bench, the con­tro­versy sur­round­ing al­leged sex­ual ha­rass­ment charge against a Kar­nataka dis­trict judge rec­om­mended for el­e­va­tion to high court are some of the is­sues which may come up at the meet­ing. The de­lay in fi­nal­is­ing the Mem­o­ran­dum of Pro­ce­dure, which guides trans­fer and el­e­va­tion of HC and SC judges, may also come up for dis­cus­sion.

The pro­posed meet­ing as­sumes sig­nif­i­cance as two se­nior judges of the apex court, jus­tices J Che­lameswar and Kurian Joseph, have flagged is­sues to sug­gest that the ex­ec­u­tive was con­stantly over­rul­ing the rec­om­men­da­tions of the ju­di­ciary.

Irked over the gov­ern­ment’s de­lay in clear­ing the Col­legium’s rec­om­men­da­tion to el­e­vate a judge and a se­nior woman ad­vo­cate to the SC, Jus­tice Kurian Joseph wrote to the CJI con­tend­ing the “very life and ex­is­tence” of the in­sti­tu­tion was “un­der threat” and a “sur­gi­cal in­ter­ven­tion” was re­quired. Ear­lier, Jus­tice Che­lameswar, the se­nior­most judge af­ter the CJI had cau­tioned that “the bon­homie be­tween the ju­di­ciary and the gov­ern­ment in any state sounds the death knell to democ­racy”.

The un­prece­dent let­ter, copies of which were also sent to 22 other SC judges, has ques­tioned the probe ini­ti­ated by the Kar­nataka HC Chief Jus­tice Di­nesh Ma­hesh­wari against Dis­trict and Ses­sions Judge Kr­ishna Bhat at the in­stance of the Law min­istry, de­spite his name be­ing rec­om­mended for el­e­va­tion twice by the Col­legium.

The pro­posed meet­ing as­sumes sig­nif­i­cance as two se­nior SC judges have flagged is­sues to sug­gest that the ex­ec­u­tive is con­stantly over­rul­ing the ju­di­ciary’s rec­om­men­da­tions

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