CJAR statement on Justice KM Joseph’s name not being proposed for appointment to the SC & demanding copy of the MOP
CAMPAIGN FOR JUDICIAL ACCOUNTABILITY AND REFORMS
6/6 basement Jangpura B, Delhi – 110014
Patrons: Justice P.B.Sawant, Justice H.Suresh, Shri Shanti Bhushan,, Prof. B.B.Pande,, Dr. Bhaskar Rao, Ms. Arundhati Roy, Shri Pradip Prabhu, Prof Babu Mathew, Dr. Baba Adhav, Ms. Kamini Jaiswal, Shri Mihir Desai, Shri Manoj Mitta
Executive Committee: Prashant Bhushan, Cheryl D’souza, Venkatesh Sundaram, Indu Prakash Singh, Nikhil Dey, Rohit Kumar Singh, Alok Prasanna Kumar, Pranav Sachdeva, Anjali Bhardwaj, Dipa Sinha, Annie Raja, Ramesh Nathan, Siddharth Sharma, Indira Unninayar, Madhuresh Kumar, Vijayan MJ, Harish Narasappa, Vipul Mudgal, Koninika Ray
6th February 2017
The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) supports Justice Chelameswar’s timely note, criticising the non elevation of Justice K.M. Joseph, Chief Justice of the Uttrakhand High Court, to the Supreme Court. As a member of the Supreme Court collegium, while Justice Chelameswar has not disagreed with the names of the five other judges that have been proposed for elevation to the Supreme Court, his criticism that Justice Joseph has been sidelined, is right and justified. We regard Justice K.M. Jospeh to have had an outstanding record as an independent Judge of high integrity and holding secular views. His being sidelined is surprising since his name for elevation to the Supreme Court, was even recommended by the previous collegium headed by Justice T.S. Thakur. It is apparent that this decision of Justice K.M. Joseph’s non elevation has been influenced by pressure from the government, especially in light of Justice Joseph’s bold decision striking down the imposition of President’s rule by the Centre in the state of Uttrakhand last year. The full text of Justice Chelameswar’s dissenting note to the Collegium should also be put in public domain.
Peoples perception of a just and fair judiciary has to be respected and maintained, since ‘we the people’, are the final beneficiaries of this legal system. We reiterate that transparency in the working of public functionaries, both the judiciary and the government, is critical in a democracy. It is thus ironic that there has been complete opacity from both these institutions where disclosing a draft of the memorandum of procedure for appointments to the High Court and Supreme Court is concerned. This process has been shrouded in secrecy, excluding public participation in this crucial process. There have only be leaked media reports and speculations on certain contentious clauses in the memorandum that have been going back and forth between the government and the judiciary. Repeated requests from the Campaign for a draft of the memorandum to be shared as well as a Campaign draft memorandum sent to the government and the judiciary, have received no response. The memorandum is now being finalised by the Judiciary.
CJAR urges the Chief Justice of India, in the interests of transparency in judicial appointments, that civil society participation in drafting this important procedure for appointments to the highest court be considered, and a draft of the memorandum of procedure be made available in the public domain. This secrecy in drawing up the Memorandum of Procedure for appointments to the High Court and the Supreme court is completely unwarranted.