New Delhi, Apr 27 The Congress today said it is time the judiciary stood firm as it urged the Supreme Court collegium to categorically reiterate its recommendation in favour of Justice K M Joseph and demand reasons from the government for rejecting his name after much delay.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said the collegium should also demand answers from the government for the segregation in appointments of judges by clearing one name and rejecting the other despite its recommendations.
He also hit out at the government and condemned the reasons cited by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, which he dubbed as "fake, spurious and deplorable", for rejecting the recommendations of the Supreme Court collegium.
He said this is the "worst day" for the the first-ever "content-based" assault on the judiciary, where the government only appoints those at key positions who say "Tusi great ho" (you are great) and does not appoint others who do not say so.
"I am exhorting, asking and demanding from the collegium and the country to forthwith reiterate that recommendation leaving the government to reject it second time. So, this is call on the judiciary to face an onslaught by the government and the accusation against the government," he told reporters.
"The collegium, which has taken to its self the power to appoint judges must forthwith immediately and categorically, reiterate its recommendation in favour of (Uttarakhand High Court) Chief Justice Joseph as this is within their jurisdiction.
"The collegium must forthwith seek reasons from the Government for a five or 4-1/2 months delay in even rejecting Mr Joseph recommendation. Recommendation made in January rejected now," Singhvi said.
The Congress leader said the Collegium must ask on what principle and under what power without the permission the chief justice's segregation was affected between the two judges.
"I say with a heavy heart, I do not say because we want it. But I think it is time the judiciary stood firm," he said.
Singh recalled that former CEC TN Seshan refused to hold elections anywhere in the country unless proper officers were appointed in different parts of the country as per the choice of the Election Commission.
"The collegium, the time has come, should say no further appointment will be made unless and until its recommendee, who is reiterated for recommendation is again appointed. It is a matter of principle, this is a matter of ‘Siddhant', this is a matter of its institutional integrity of one organ of State speaking from position of strength to another co equal organ of State," he said.
Lashing out at the government, Singhvi said it has not been able to stomach dissent as Justice Joseph had given an adverse order which is passed according to law.
"That is what I call content based discrimination – very-very serious direct assault on independence of judiciary. What is independence of judiciary, if it is not to become a drawing room word, a seminar word, a word which elite discuss over coffee in hotel room?," he said.
He also said, "The reasons given by the Law Minister in his letter are spurious. They are fake, they are deplorable, and they should be condemned."
Singhvi said that this is the "worst and for many decades the first content based assault on the judiciary" and the non-elevation of Chief Justice Joseph is a "deplorable chapter in the annals of our judicial system".
"It is based clearly on the content of the judgement which a judge is obliged to write according to his conscience and as per the oath without fear or favour, without anything except his anchor and allegiance to the law," he told reporters while referring to the Uttarakhand case.
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