A Supreme Court panel responsible for appointments and promotions of judges to the apex court has rejected the government’s objections to its latest round of promotion recommendations, escalating the conflict between judiciary and Parliament.
The government had pointed out that the three judges, who were recommended by the panel for promotion from high courts to the Supreme Court, were junior to several other judges.
The President appoints Supreme Court judges, on the panel’s recommendations — forwarded through the government. For the first time in 15 years since this procedure was adopted, the government last week refused to endorse the panel’s recommendations.
On Saturday, the government returned the file containing the promotion recommendations to the Chief of Justice of India, who heads the five-judges panel (called the collegium), requesting him to reconsider the names. Asserting its supremacy, the collegium refused to amend its recommendations and returned the file to the Law Ministry on Tuesday, highly placed sources said.
"All the names (of judges senior to the three) mentioned were earlier also considered, but the names recommended have been found to be the most suitable for elevation for the present," a note from the panel to the government is learnt to have said.
The panel's move could raise more questions on the judges' appointment and promotion procedure, which, Parliament has been demanding, be made more transparent.
The government now has no option other than to accept the names recommended by the collegium, and forward them to the President for approval. But there is no deadline to complete the process.