New Delhi: The government is learnt to have asked the Supreme Court collegium to reconsider its recommendation to elevate a judge of the Allahabad High Court as chief justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court. While returning the file of Justice Vikram Nath last month, the government did not cite any reason, sources said.This is perhaps the first recommendation to be returned to the collegium by the present government.The NDA-I had returned several recommendations back to the collegium.
On April 8, the collegium headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had recommended the name of Justice Nath for elevation as chief justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court.
“Mr Justice Vikram Nath is the senior-most Judge from Allahabad High Court and is functioning in that high court since his elevation. Having regard to all relevant factors, the collegium finds Justice Vikram Nath suitable in all respects for being appointed as the chief justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court. “The collegium resolves to recommend accordingly,” a resolution uploaded on the Supreme Court website read.
Responding to a written question in the Lok Sabha on July 17, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said seven of the nine recommendations made by the Supreme Court collegium this year to appoint chief justices to nine high courts have been accepted while two names are under “various stages of processing”.
He said up to July 12, the Supreme Court collegium has recommended nine proposals for appointment of high court judges as chief justices in various high courts. Prasad said out of the nine, seven judges have been appointed as chief justices in the high courts of Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Rajasthan and Telangana.
Two proposals for appointment of high court judges as chief justices of Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh HCs are “under various stages of processing as per provisions of the Memorandum of Procedure(MoP)”, he said. While it has returned the file of Justice Nath, the government is yet to take a call on elevating Justice Akil Kureshi as chief justice of the Madhya Pradesh high court, the sources said.
On June 3, when Prasad took charge of the Law Ministry, he had asserted that neither he nor his ministry will be a “post office” on judicial appointments and that he will work as a stakeholder in consultation with the Supreme Court and high courts to expedite recruitment of judges.