New Delhi, Jan 13, 2018 : Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra’s handling of the issue pertaining to Memorandum of Procedure -- has apparently singed the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court to lodge their protest in public.
Besides objecting to the allocation of cases to particular benches, the four judges led by Justice J Chelameswar also questioned a two-judge bench’s decision to entertain a petition filed by R P Luthra on the issue on October 27, last. Though a three-judge bench presided over by the CJI had subsequently on November 8 overturned the judicial order, the four judges, however, went on to ventilate their grievances in public on Friday.
The MoP has remained pending since Constitution bench decision on December 16, 2016, in view of the tug-of-war between the judiciary and the Union government over certain clauses like the rejection of candidates on national security, widening zone of consultation, complaint disposal mechanism etc.
In their letter to the CJI about two months, they said that there was no occasion for the bench (of Justices Adarsh K Goel and U U Lalit) to make an observation with regard to the finalisation of the MoP or that the issue cannot linger on for an indefinite period.
The four judges, including Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph, objected to the judicial order passed by the two-judge bench wherein a response was sought from Attorney General.
When the MoP was the subject matter of a decision of a Constitution Bench of this court, in Supreme Court Advocates-on-record Association and Anr Vs Union of India (2016), it is difficult to understand as to how any other bench could have dealt with the matter, they said.
They pointed out after the Constitution Bench’s decision in NJAC, detailed discussions were held by the Collegium of five judges and the MoP was finalised and sent by the then Chief Justice of India to the government in March 2017.
"The Government of India has not responded to the communication and in view of this silence, it must be taken that the MoP as finalised by the Collegium has been accepted by the Government," the letter stated.
They have demanded the CJI to "rectify the situation and take appropriate remedial measures after a full discussion with the other members of the collegium and at a later stage, if required, with other Hon’ble judges of this court."
Interestingly, the CJI-led bench had on November 8 scuttled the move by a two-judge bench to examine "indefinite delay" in finalisation of the MoP for the appointment of judges in the apex court and the High Courts. "There was no necessity to pass any interim order in view of the Constitution bench decision. These are not matters to be taken on the judicial side. That’s all," the bench, also comprising Justices A K Sikri and Amitava Roy had said.