Govt, HC lock horns over guidelines for judges’ trips abroad
Government could move the Supreme Court against a Delhi High court order which has partially struck down its guidelines on private visit of judges abroad.
The Department of Justice in the Law Ministry - which looks after the higher judiciary - has recommended challenging the High Court order of 25 May. In an internal note, it has expressed its unhappiness at the order which partially struck down its February 2011 guidelines.
‘The independence of judiciary should no doubt be upheld and respected. But this cannot be taken to limits where they show disregard to the government policy and guidelines issued in public interest,’ the note read.
The note stated that even Union ministers take approval of the government when they travel abroad on personal visits.
Though the three-month deadline to challenge the order has passed, the government still has the option to move an application for condonation of delay to approach the apex court seeking clarification on the High Court ruling.
The Law Ministry has all along maintained that the guidelines were required to enable it answer any question, including the ones raised in Parliament.
The HC had quashed some of the guidelines, saying they were against the independence of the judiciary. The verdict also questioned a particular clause: ‘During private visits, judges may not accept hospitality from any foreign government/organisations.’
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