Union Law Minister HR Bhardwaj on Saturday sought to downplay President APJ Abdul Kalam asking the Government to reconsider the proposal to appoint Justice Jagdish Bhalla of the Allahabad High Court as the next Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court.
"It is a part of the consultation process and the process is not yet over," Bhardwaj told reporters in New Delhi.
Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of an International Conference on Alternative Disputes Resolution, the Minister, however, refused to entertain further questions on the issue.
Chief Justice of India Justice KG Balakirishnan, who was also present at the conference, simply refused to talk to the media.
Kalam is said to have returned Justice Bhalla's file to the PMO in view of certain reservations expressed by some lawyers over alleged land deals of his wife.
Earlier, a collegium of senior most judges of the Supreme Court headed by the then Chief Justice YK Sabharwal had recommended Bhalla's elevation as the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court.
On his last day in office, Justice Sabharwal had defended Justice Bhalla on the ground that the local bar fully supported him and that the opposition was only from some Delhi-based lawyers.
The matter would now go back to the colligium, headed by the new CJI. If it recommends Justice Bhalla for elevation again, the Government is bound by it but there is no time frame to implement it.
Former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan had written letters to several dignitaries on the issue and many of them had forwarded his complaint to the CJI.
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