Govt clears judge file, sits on another


In a historic development, the Union government on Wednesday cleared the elevation of senior advocate Indu Malhotra as a Supreme Court judge.

Malhotra was among the two names recommended by the Collegium - the other being the Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, KM Joseph.

On January 22, the Supreme Court collegiums file recommending the elevation of Justice Joseph and Malhotra reached the Law Ministry.

Malhotra will be the first woman to be directly elevated to the SC from the Bar.

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However, Malhotra's recommendation was caught in the crossfire of politics as the Centre appeared to be disinclined to elevate Chief Justice Joseph. As per a report in PTI, the government is of the view that the Supreme Court Collegium has disregarded seniority and regional representation in recommending the name of Justice Joseph. A decade earlier, Ms Mahotra was the second woman lawyer to be appointed as senior advocate by the Supreme Court, three decades after the first, Justice Leila Seth, was designated.

The move is bound to be controversial, and it is unclear whether the Centre took CJI Dipak Misra into confidence before taking the decision.

The last time the government had to segregate two recommendations made together, it led to a controversy.

The case pertained to Punjab and Haryana High Court additional judge Ramendra Jain.

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Justice Lodha had written to the government when it had decided against elevating senior lawyer and former solicitor general Gopal Subramanium to the Supreme Court, while accepting other recommendations of the collegium.

"Failure to discharge their duty by sitting over on the recommendations of the Collegium doing nothing, in administrative law, is an abuse of power".

These 50 advocates have sought action against all the politicians, legal professionals and also the petitioners who have launched a scathing attack and criticised CJI Dipak Misra over his judgement dismissing the petitions seeking independent probe in the alleged mysterious death of special Judge BH Loya.

His absence from the court today assumes significance as sources had said that Justice Chelameswar was present in the morning meeting on Monday when the Naidu had rejected the impeachment notice.

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