Not stalling judicial postings: Prasad

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the executive was not committing a “cardinal sin” by seeking reconsideration of some proposals sent by the Supreme Court Collegium. PTI file photo

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday dismissed the Opposition charge that the government was stalling appointments to the higher judiciary.

He said the executive was not committing a “cardinal sin” by seeking reconsideration of some proposals sent by the Supreme Court Collegium.

He also said that the judiciary had enough "foresight and statesmanship" to settle differences within and urged the political class to remain "immune" to the issue.

The law minister also made a veiled attack on the Congress, claiming that parties which had lost in elections were using courts to hit out at the ruling party through "sponsored litigation".

On allegations that the government was stalling appointments to the Supreme Court and the 24 high courts, Prasad said neither the law minister nor the law ministry was a "post office" which would only process recommendations of the Collegium on the appointment of judges.

The government had come under attack when it returned the Collegium's recommendation to elevate Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K M Joseph to the Supreme Court, citing seniority and regional imbalance.

Not a post office

He said the government respected the verdict of the Supreme Court quashing the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, which sought to give the executive a larger say in judicial appointments.

"But I wish to make it very clear that the law minister or the law ministry is not a post office. This fact I would like to very gently highlight. Even in the Collegium system...created by the three judgements of 1993, 1998 and 1999, the right of the government has been acknowledged to seek a reconsideration and also to give inputs," he said while addressing an event.

"We have a constitutional role...we shall continue to respectfully and gently convey our views. Obviously, the Collegium has to take the call," Prasad said.

He said in 2016, 126 HC judges, the highest number in the last 30 years, were appointed against the average 79 to 82 per annum since 1989.

In 2017, 117 HC judges were appointed and till now 30 HC judges have been appointed. He said 30 additional judges posts were also created.

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Not stalling judicial postings: Prasad

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