Let CMs recommend names to collegium for HC judge posts: Rijiju | India News


NEW DELHI: Let CMs recommend names of advocates of their choice to the collegium to be made judges of HCs, law minister Kiren Rijiju has told the Chief Justice of India (CJI) in a letter sent to him recently, asserting that the Centre and state governments are important stakeholders in the appointment of judges to the constitutional courts.
Rijiju has reminded the CJI that the existing ‘memorandum of procedure’ (MoP) for appointment of judges to Supreme Court and HCs already has this provision and the same should be embedded in the new MoP and brought into “actual practice”.
The new MoP is pending approval of the five member SC collegium, headed by the CJI, since August 2017 when the government had sent its fourth revised draft for its consideration. As part of the new MoP, the Centre has proposed setting up of a secretariat and a search-cum-evaluation committee outside the collegium at the level of SC and each of the 25 HCs.
The proposed MoP alsosuggested that the collegium of the SC and the HCs should only deliberate on names recommended to them by the search-cum-evaluation committee which should also include a representative from the Centre, at the level of SC, and a representative each from the Centre and state at the level of HCs. At present there is no such mechanism available either in the SC or the HCs. The collegiums of both the SC and HCs on their own select candidates for their elevation.
Rijiju further emphasised that since this particular provision of the MoP “has not been put into actual practice, it would be appropriate if the names recommended by the chief minister can also be received by the above mentioned search-cum-evaluation committee” along with the names taken from the senior judges outside the Collegium and eligible candidates taken from the database.
The contention of the government is that the Centre and state governments are important stakeholders in the appointment of judges for the constitutional courts. The communication sent by Rijiju to CJI quotes from paragraph 14 of the existing MoP and para 15 of the draft MoP (pending with the CJI) where it provides that chief ministers can recommend names of advocates of his/her choice to chief justice of the respective HCs for his consideration.
Arguing that this is not a new demand of the government, sources said, the draft MoP, which talks about CMs recommending names to chief justices for his consideration, was even circulated by the then CJI on March 13, 2017 (to stakeholders) for appointment of judges to SC and HCs.
In his letter sent to the CJI earlier this month, the law minister suggested that the selection-cum-evaluation committee should have representatives of the Centre and the state governments.


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