Opposing Joseph’s elevation ‘revenge’, Modi regime wants own people in judiciary: Congress

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New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) The Congress termed the Central goverment’s asking the Supreme Court collegium to reconsider its recommendation for elevation of Justice K.M. Joseph to the apex court, “revenge politics” and accused the government of “appointing judges only of their own choice”.

The party also said the the independence of judiciary is in “danger” and if it does not protect its autonomy in one voice, “then democracy will be in danger.”

Citing the Supreme Court collegium’s view that Justice Joseph, currently Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court was “more deserving and suitable in all respects” than other Chief Justices and senior judges of high courts, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said that it seemed that “the government thinks he is not deserving”.

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“The SC’s own website said this. Four months have passed, today we got to know that government has returned the file and said more discussion is required on it. The Central government wants only those judges, on whom only the government has approval.

“The law says what collegium recommends, only they wil be appointed. The government wants to ignore the collegium recommendations. If it is not of their choice, they will not appoint him,” he said.

Alleging that the governments also want to “pack HCs with their own people”, he noted that there were 410 vacancies among the 771 approved strength of all High Court judges.

“People and litigants are suffering because of this. Will the judiciary stand up and say in one voice that enough is enough,” Sibal asked.

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On Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad’s stand that UPA government too didn’t accept a few recommendations of the collegium, Sibal said: “I want to ask him that if you are accusing us, then will you also do the same thing?”

“You will also not allow someone to become a judge, will you also supersede? I want to ask them is this your intent? If you want to move forward, then you can never do that by looking back.”

The Congress also said that stalling of Justice K.M. Joseph’s appointment “exposed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘revenge politics'”.

“PM Modi’s ‘revenge politics’ qua judiciary and ‘conspiratorial suffocation’ of Supreme Court exposed again. Justice Joseph is India’s senior most chief justice. Yet Modi government refuses to clear his elevation to SC as retribution for quashing presidential rule in Uttrakhand,” tweeted Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

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In another tweet, he said: “In June 2014, they refused to clear noted jurist G.Subramaniam’s name for elevation to SC as he was a lawyer against Amit Shah and company.”

–IANS

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