Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
The unprecedented revolt of four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court of India might not have become so rash had the Central Government not slept over the Memorandum of Procedure finalized by the Supreme Court for more than nine months.
The MoP, resting with the Central Government, emphasized on keeping Judicial appointments free from political prejudices. It has made it clear that, the Supreme Court will have the last say in cases where its recommendation for appointment of a judge is returned by the government on the grounds of national security and public interest.
“The Government of India has not responded to the communication and in view of this silence, it must be taken that the Memorandum of Procedure as finalized by the collegium has been accepted by the Government of India on the basis of the order of this court in ‘Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association and Anr. vs Union of India’ case, [(2016) 5 SCC 1]“ , the four judges, Justices Jasti Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph had told Chief Justice of India, which, unheeded to, has played havoc with Judgment Delivery System, they have alleged.
There may be serious points of law involved with the issue. But, there shall never be an end to any issue if despite the top Court’s verdict settling an issue in a Constitutional Bench the same issue lingers due to political mischief.
The four judges addressing the press is a bit rash, no doubt. But, it has inadvertently given birth to an environment where manipulation in bench making to suit a party in the Court may no more be easy.
“The Collegium system needs to be improved requiring a ‘glasnost’ and a ‘perestroika’, Justice Kurian Joseph had said in the cited case.
If the four judges’ revolt brings in ‘glasnost’ and ‘perestroika’ , the right-wingers in power in today’s India may not dare to sleep over the Supreme Court’s communication for nine months, tomorrow.