The NDA government’s move to segregate senior advocate Gopal Subramanium’s file from others has come under attack from jurists who say the appointments of other three appear to be against the framework prescribed by the Supreme Court.
They even supported the former solicitor general for withdrawing his consent amidst the controversy surrounding his appointment and questioned the “demeaning manner” in which the government treated a “prospective judge.”
Former Chief Justice of India MN Venkatachaliah decried the delinking of Subramanium’s file as it was against the procedure.
“The files related to all the four recommendations were required to come back to the collegium. The executive cannot split the recommendation. It’s for the SC to do so,” he said, adding: “These are critical times when the institution’s integrity has been challenged. I am sure the SC knows how to protect itself.”
According to him the government is entitled to express its views but is obliged to follow a procedure. “You can’t sit on the procedure,” the former CJI said.
Senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan called Subramanium an objective lawyer and most suitable for SC judge. “It’s the executive mischief that prevented his name from being forwarded. All files have to be sent to the President together. They cannot be segregated. There is no doubt that all the controversies are political. Despite the withdrawal the collegium should stand firm, reiterate his name and persuade him to accept it,” Dhawan told HT.
Former Delhi high court judge Justice RS Sodhi is appalled at the way the controversy took an unpleasant turn. “Files of all the recommendations move together. If there is any short-coming, only the collegium can accept or reject it. It’s not for the government to choose,” he said.
Justice Sodhi recalled a case where the IB report had declared a judge-in-waiting a drunkard and how the collegium found it incorrect. “When the file was sent back to the collegium the members found that the person was a teetotaler and that his nick-name in school used to be Buzo,” he said.