Apex court refuses to rake up judges’ old appointments

April 16th, 2008 - 11:46 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 16 (IANS) The Supreme Court Wednesday refused to examine the alleged irregularity of successive chief justices of India confirming the services of all 351 high court judges since 1999. A bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice L.S. Panta said it would not be feasible to examine the alleged irregularity. But it conceded former law minister Shanti Bhushan’s demand to examine the alleged irregularity in confirmation of services of Justice S. Ashok Kumar of the Madras High Court.

Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan made Justice Kumar’s services permanent without mandatory consultation with the apex court collegium of two senior most judges.

The bench adjourned the matter for May 7, saying it would decide then whether to summon government records related to the appointment and confirmation of Justice Kumar.

Bhushan moved the apex court questioning the present chief justice’s February 2007 decision to confirm Justice Kumar’s services.

He contended that Kumar was made a permanent judge of the Madras High Court despite two erstwhile chief justices of India refusing to confirm his services on two earlier occasions due to “adverse intelligence inputs” to the government against Justice Kumar.

Taking note of the serious allegation, the bench of Justice Pasayat sought from the government an elaborate affidavit, detailing the exact number of high court judges made permanent since 1999 on successive chief justices’ recommendations alone and on the chief justices’ recommendations endorsed by the collegium.

The government in its affidavit said a total of 351 additional judges of various high courts were made permanent between January 1999 and 2007 by the successive chief justices and in no case the chief justice consulted the collegium.

The bench subsequently sought from the government the ‘memorandum of procedure’, detailing the procedure for appointment in higher judiciary.

As per the ‘memorandum of procedure’ of the government, high court judges can be appointed or made permanent by the chief justice with consent of two senior most judges of the apex court.

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