Government seeks Supreme Court collegium rethink on Allahabad High Court judge
The government is learnt to have asked the Supreme Court collegium to reconsider its recommendation to elevate an Allahabad High Court judge as chief justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court.
While returning the file relating to Justice Vikram Nath last month, the government did not cite any reason, sources said.
They added that the government was yet to decide on another collegium recommendation, which was in favour of elevating Justice Akil Kureshi as chief justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court.
According to the sources, the resolution for Justice Nath’s elevation was probably the first collegium recommendation to be returned by the present government. Narendra Modi’s first government had sought several rethinks by the collegium.
Under the rules, if the collegium reaffirms a decision, the government has no option but to accept it.
On April 8, the collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, had recommended Justice Nath’s elevation.
Responding to a written question in the Lok Sabha on July 17, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said that seven of the nine collegium recommendations made this year for appointing high court chief justices had been accepted while two were “under various stages of processing”.
He had added that the seven chief justices appointed now headed the high courts of Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Rajasthan and Telangana.
The other two recommendations related to the chief justices of Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, Prasad had said.
When Prasad took charge of the law ministry on June 3, he had asserted that neither he nor his ministry would be a “post office” on judicial appointments.
He had stressed that he would work as a stakeholder in consultation with the Supreme Court and the high courts to speed up the recruitment of judges.
The April 8 collegium recommendation in favour of Justice Nath had said: “Mr Justice Vikram Nath is the senior-most judge from Allahabad High Court and is functioning in that high court since his elevation. Having regard to all relevant factors, the collegium finds Justice Vikram Nath suitable in all respects for being appointed as the chief justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court. The collegium resolves to recommend accordingly.”