SC refuses to stay Indu Malhotra’s appointment as apex court judge

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New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to stay appointment of senior woman lawyer Indu Malhotra as an apex court judge on the issue of its second recommendation not being accepted, saying the government could send back a judge’s name for reconsideration.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y Chandrachud made the observation on a plea of senior advocate Indira Jaising who demanded that Malhotra be not sworn in as the apex court judge and the government be directed to recommend the name of Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K.M. Joseph as well.

Lawyers filing a petition to seek stay of appointment of a member of the bar is “unimaginable, unthinkable, inconceivable and, to say the least, never heard of”, said the bench, adding that government is “well within its right to send back the recommendation for reconsideration”.”

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“Constitutional propriety demands that the warrant of appointment of Indu Malhotra be implemented.”

The Central government has asked the top court collegium to reconsider its recommendation for the elevation of Justice K.M. Joseph as a judge of the Supreme Court, but cleared the appointment of senior lawyer Indu Malhotra.

Referring to the government’s decision, Jaising told the bench that it cannot be done and either both names should have been recommended or rejected.

Reiterating that the government is within its right to send back a name for reconsideration, the court said that when such a reference comes, the Collegium will deal with it in accordance with Supreme Court judgments and the Constitution.

The advocate sought urgent hearing of the plea, which the apex court denied.

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Jaising told the court that more than 100 lawyers have signed the petition and question the decision of Centre to “cherry pick” names recommendeded for appointment as apex court judges.

The signatories have also agreed to a resolution seeking urgent convening of Supreme Court Bar Association meeting to discuss the issues arising from the controversy over judge appointments.



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