Continuing its attack on the NDA on the issue of the Centre sending back for reconsideration the recommendation of the collegium for the elevation of Justice K M Joseph to the Supreme Court, the Congress on Friday called on the collegium to reiterate to the Government its recommendation for the appointment of Justice Joseph.
Talking to reporters here, AICC spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi described the rejection of the recommendation for the appointment of Justice Joseph as "the worst and a content based assault" on the independence of the Judiciary, that is one based on the judgement given by a judge.
'This is the worst and the first content based attack on the Judiciary. The Justice Joseph case is a deplorable chapter,' he said. Alleging that the action by the Government to turn down the recommendation for Justice Joseph's appointment was based on his judgement that overturned the imposition of President's Rule in Uttarakhand when the Congress was in power there, Singhvi said, 'more than adequate hearing was given to the Uttarakhand case. It is nothing but an assault on the independence of the Judiciary.
The reasons give by the Law minister in his letter are 'spurious' and 'condemnable'. If the Government says that the appointment was turned down because of the necessity of appointing SC judges, then that arguments is negated by the appointment of a woman judge. Justice Joseph is the senior most Chief Justice in the country.'
Slamming the Government for the four month delay in the rejection of the appointment of Justice Joseph, Mr Singhvi said, 'the delay was effected to put pressure on the collegium due to the rising backlog of cases.'
He also charged the Government with indulging in ‘segregation’ that is clearing appointment of senior advocate Indu Malhotra as a judge in the top court but keeping the other name of Justice Joseph pending for consideration.
In January, the collegium had sent both the names together for appointment but the government has processed only one, with no further movement on the file relating to Justice Joseph, who is at present the chief justice of Uttarakhand High Court.
Calling on the collegium to assert itself, Mr Singhvi said, 'the collegium must immediately reiterate its recommendation to the government for the elevation of Justice Joseph to the Supreme Court. In case the recommendation is rejected a second time, it should send a notice of contempt to the Law Secretary.
The Collegium should seek from the Government the reasons for a four months delay in rejection of the recommendation of the collegium. It should also ask the Government why a 'segregation' was effected' '
Citing the example of former Chief election commissioner T N Seshan having threatened to put on a hold all appointments when some of his recommendations were turned down by the then Government, Singhvi said, 'the collegium should put on hold all appointments if its recommendations are not accepted. It is time for the judiciary to stand up for its Independence.'
He also appealed to all Opposition parties and all the parties within the NDA, barring the BJP, to raise their voice on the issue. At the same time, Mr Singhvi said that if need be the Congress was ready to walk alone on the issue. (UNI)