Supreme Court, govt now differ on Punjab and Haryana HC judge appointment
This is the second time in the last three months that the Supreme Court Collegium and the government have had a face-off over appointments.india Updated: Apr 19, 2018 00:05 IST
The appointment of a judge to the Punjab and Haryana high court has become the latest flashpoint between the Supreme Court and the government, with the SC collegium disagreeing with a move by the Centre to not approve the confirmation of Justice Ramendra Jain a day before he is due to retire.
The collegium, which is responsible for appointment of judges to the high courts and Supreme Court, on Tuesday reiterated his name for appointment as a permanent judge of the Punjab and Haryana high court in response to a letter from the government to the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra asking that justice Jain’s appointment be reconsidered as he was earlier supposed to be transferred out of the high court.
Passing a fresh resolution for the appointment of justice Jain , the Supreme Court collegium — comprising Misra, justice Jasti Chelameswar and justice Ranjan Gogoi — has written back to the government saying that justice Jain’s appointment must be “processed most expeditiously keeping in view that the current term of justice Ramendra Jain is going to expire very shortly on 19th April, 2018”.
Hindustan Times has a copy of the resolution.
In the resolution, the collegium cited its earlier decision of July 2017, when it had said that justice Jain should be retained in the Punjab and Haryana high court, where he was appointed as an additional judge in 2015 and then given an extension on April 20, 2017.
“Justice Ramendra Jain has been performing well in the Punjab & Haryana High Court and no information warranting his transfer has come to our notice. The Collegium is of the considered view that he be allowed to continue to function in that High Court, keeping in view the depleted Judge-strength of the High Court. The Collegium resolves to recommend accordingly,” the resolution said.
Unless the government processes his appointment by April 19, Justice Jain will retire. Additional judges are appointed for a specific term, while the retirement age for a high court judge is 62 years.
When contacted, the government’s department of justice , which oversees the appointment of judges, declined to comment .
This is the second time in the last three months that the Supreme Court Collegium and the government have had a face-off over appointments.
The appointment of the chief justice of Uttarkhand high court KM Joseph and senior advocate Indu Malhotra as a Supreme Court judge have been pending with the government since January 10.
Appointments of judges to several high courts, which are functioning below their sanctioned strength, are pending with the government as the two sides are yet to finalise a new memorandum of procedure for the appointments of judges.
A public interest litigation was filed on Wednesday in the Supreme Court, seeking the urgent appointment of judges in the Calcutta high court, which has an approved strength of 72 judges and is functioning at half its strength as of April 1, 2018.
First Published: Apr 19, 2018 00:04 IST