Unwilling to be seen meddling, the government is hoping the Supreme Court would amend the list of judges cleared for promotion.
A list of five high court judges, cleared for promotion to the apex court, was sent to the law ministry in the last week of August for President Pratibha Patil’s approval.
Allegations of corruption have since surfaced against one of them, Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P D Dinakaran, as first reported by HT. The judge has denied the allegations.
But the demand for a review of the list is getting louder.
“The collegium is the final authority and the government has no opinion to give,” Law Minister M Veerappa Moily has said.
“…we learnt that the collegium met again on Friday,” said a senior law ministry official refusing to be identified. “We’ll wait for further communication.”
A body of Supreme Court judges, or the collegium, clears all appointments to the apex court and high courts.
It recently cleared five names. Karnataka High Court’s Dinakaran was one of them. The others were Chief Justices S S Nijjar (Calcutta), K S Radhakrishnan (Gujarat), A K Patnaik (Madhya Pradesh) and T S Thakur (Punjab and Haryana).
The list was sent for the President’s approval on August 27. But before the government could act, jurists led by Fali S Nariman, Ram Jethmalani and Shanti Bhushan protested.
They wrote to the President, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India to cancel Dinakaran’s promotion.
Moily has clearly said the government will leave it to the SC.
But if the apex court doesn’t revise the list and if the government changes it mind, it can return the list for reconsideration. The government will then have to send it to Rashtrapati Bhawan for approval.