SC judges to decide on reply to CIC direction, says CJI


Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan also said the judiciary was not opposed to a new method of appointment of judges of the higher judiciary if Parliament enacts a law.
“Our judges will decide,” said Justice Balakrishnan when asked by reporters on the CIC’s direction to the Supreme Court on the issue.

He was speaking on the sidelines of National Law Day celebrations held on the Supreme Court premises.
The Commission, however, had asked the apex court to sever the information which can be termed personal details of the persons mentioned in the records or correspondence available with the Chief Justice of India on appointment of three the Supreme Court judges.

RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal had sought making public complete correspondence between the authorities concerned relating to appointment of Justices H L Dattu, A K Ganguly and R M Lodha superseding senior judges A P Shah, A K Patnaik and V K Gupta.

The Chief Justice declined to be drawn into a discussion on another direction by CIC to the apex courtto disclose within 15 days the name of the Union minister who had allegedly tried to influence Madras High Court judge R Raghupati in a pending matter. “I do not communicate with any of the judges of the high courts,” he said while declining to entertain any further question on the issue.

Public activity
The CIC had in one direction held that the appointment of judges is a “public activity” which cannot be withheld from disclosure and asked the Supreme Court to make public the records of appointing three justices of the apex court who superseded their seniors.
The plea was rejected by the Registry of Supreme Court saying it did not have the information and later pleaded before the Commission that it was held in fiduciary relationship with the Chief Justice of India and hence the information cannot be given under the RTI Act.

Reacting to CIC order on the appointment of the three judges superseding the seniors, Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said, “They have given an order. What interpretation can I give?”
Against the backdrop of criticism of the present system of appointment of judges in higher judiciary, Justice Balakrishnan said the judiciary was not opposed to a new system if Parliament enacts a law for the same.

He, however, said until legislation was brought, the judiciary was bound to follow the existing system under which a collegium of judges decides on the appointments.
“At present, we are strictly following the Supreme Court judgment and the Constitution in the appointment of judges to the higher judiciary. We are not opposed to any change in the procedure.

“If Parliament brings a law and if it is good for the country and the judiciary we will welcome and accept it,” he said while inaugurating the National Law Day celebrations on the Supreme Court premises.

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