Selection of judges not debatable, says Moily

Selection of judges not debatable, says Moily

Bill to be introduced to avoid future controversies

Asked about the elevation of Karnataka HC Chief Justice P D Dinakaran to the apex court, Moily told Deccan Herald that the government cannot take a decision on the basis of allegations.  “The charges need to be substantiated by concrete facts. The appointment of judges is the prerogative of the Supreme Court collegium.”

Asked whether he would send the file recommending the names of five judges, including that of Justice Dinakaran, back to the collegium for reconsideration, Moily said: “The process of appointment is on and I do not want to make any comment.’’

Moily asserted that the Judges Inquiry Bill to be introduced in the coming winter session would take care of such controversies in future. The elevation of Karnataka HC Chief Justice P D Dinakaran to the SC has been entangled in legal procedure as the government can do very little in this case.

Land details sought

Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan, in the meantime, has sought a report from the Tamil Nadu government on the land holding of Justice Dinakaran.

Supreme Court sources said the chief justice of India has asked the state administration to furnish details of land including illegal occupation of public land, if any, possessed by Justice Dinakaran and his family.

The collegium comprising the chief justice of India and four senior-most judges—Justices B N Agrawal, S H Kapadia, Tarun Chatterjee and Altmas Kabir—had recommended the name of Justice Dinakaran for elevation to the Supreme Court last month.

The other names cleared by the collegium was that of the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, Ananga Kumar Patnaik; the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana HC, Tirath Singh Thakur; the Chief Justice of the Calcutta HC, Surinder Singh Nijjar; and the Chief Justice of the Gujarat HC, K S Radhakrishnan.

According to a ruling by the SC, the government is bound by the recommendation of the SC collegium vis-a-vis the appointment of judges of the SC and high courts and chief justices of high courts. The same decision also said that the senior-most judge would be appointed CJI contrary to the earlier practice of appointment of CJI and judges by the government.

The SC provision is silent on the withdrawal of name of the judge after recommending his name for the elevation. Even the collegium is not bound to obey the suggestion of the government.