Govt refused to give collegium in writing reasons for judges' rejection
The Supreme Court collegium refused to accept the proposal of the executive's right to reject its recommendation for appointment of a judge on the ground of national security as the government refused to give the reasons for rejection in writing.
Though the government is learnt to have held several rounds of discussion with the Chief Justice of India to convince him to accept the national security clause in the proposed Memorandum of Procedure, it was rejected as the government is learnt to have insisted that it would not give anything in writing if a candidate's name is rejected over national security.
Sources said the government was only willing to share the intelligence report on the concerned candidate with the CJI and not the collegium of five top judges of the apex court.
The collegium, on the other hand, was of the view that if the government gave the reasons in writing, the charges could be verified through independent sources. Seeking to convince the collegium to accept the national security and public interest clauses, the government had saidso far it had not rejected any recommendation on national security issue. It had told the collegium that in the future too, the clause will be invoked sparingly.
But since the government was not ready to give the reasons for rejecting a recommendation on national security consideration, the collegium rejected it. The body of five senior-most judges of the apex court headed by the Chief Justice of India has made it clear that if the government has objections on the ground of national security and public interest, it will convey the same to the collegium. The collegium will then take a final call, the sources said.
Since January last, the government and the apex court are trying to finalise the Memorandum of Procedure -- a document to guide appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.
While rejecting the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, the SC had agreed to revise the memorandum of procedure to usher in more transparency in appointment of judges to the SC and HCs.
The new law had sought to overturn the over two-decade- old collegium system where judges appoint judges. It had sought a say for the executive in appointment of judges. The national security clause and the secretariat clause are part of the draft MoP which has been shuttling between the government and the collegium since March 22, 2016.