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BJP-ruled states Assam, MP divided on selection of trial court judges

Madhya Pradesh and Assam took contrary stands before the Supreme Court on the issue of a centralised mechanism for appointment of judges to the trial court.

india Updated: Aug 21, 2017 23:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
trial court judge,Supreme Court,BJP
The Supreme Court is hearing the issue of a centralised mechanism for appointment of judges to the trial court.(REUTERS)

Two BJP-ruled states — Madhya Pradesh and Assam — took contrary stands on Monday before the Supreme Court on the issue of a centralised mechanism for appointment of judges to the trial court.

While Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s government supported the idea, the Sarbananda Sonowal government in Assam expressed strong reservations. The submissions were made before a special bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar who took cognisance of a letter written by the law secretary to the SC registrar general.

It had, on May 9, converted a letter written by Union justice secretary Snehlata, highlighting the problem of unfilled judicial vacancies in subordinate courts, into a PIL.

Senior counsel Vijay Hansaria, appearing for Assam and the Gauhati high court, said “If the proposal is accepted, the high court would be left with performing mere ministerial work of formally recommending the candidates selected by the Central Selection Committee to the Governor for appointment.”

When CJI Khehar said the issue was discussed with all the chief justices on July 22, Hansaria denied the presence of Gauhati chief justice. On behalf of Madhya Pradesh, senior counsel Harish Salve supported the proposal, saying there was a need to make the rule of law a reality.

“Sometimes you have to get out constitutional habits to find innovative solutions,” he said, pointing to 25% of vacancies in the subordinate courts. Assam’s opposition came days after West Bengal — a non-BJP ruled state — opposed the mechanism. The move, it said, was against the basic structure imbibed in the Constitution.

The court reiterated all state-specific rules and reservation policy would continue to be adhered to even after the new recruitment system comes into effect. It was primarily aimed at doing away with the inordinate delay in judicial appointments in subordinate courts, it said.

The court will hear the matter on Tuesday.

First Published: Aug 21, 2017 23:19 IST