NEW DELHI, 1 July-2014, Dhananjay Mahapatra/TNN: Chief Justice of India RM Lodha has hit out at Narendra Modi government for rejecting the candidature of former solicitor general Gopal Subramanium as SC judge.
“The first thing I had taken objection to was the segregation of Gopal Subramanium’s file unilaterally by the executive. It is not proper,” he said at a function here breaking his silence on the controversy that struck the new government within a month of its coming to power.
Justice Lodha asserted that independence of judiciary was of utmost importance to him and told the lawyers at the function that “don’t get the impression that independence of judiciary was compromised”.
“I promise 1.2 billion people of India that independence of judiciary will not be compromised,” he said adding “I will be the first person to leave this chair if judiciary’s independence is compromised”.
He was speaking at a function to bid farewell to Justice BS Chauhan who demitted office today on attaining the age of superannuation.
The CJI was also shocked by Gopal Subramanium’s letter to him accusing the judiciary of not sanding by the former solicitor general after his name was returned by the government citing adverse IB and CBI reports.
CJI said he had asked Subramanium to wait till he returned from abroad to discuss the issue.
But Gopal Subramanium decided to go public with the letter withdrawing consent for judgeship.
CJI further said he had asked Subramanium to reconsider his decision but got a 30-word letter from him saying he was no more interested in judgeship.
Again after a few days when the Chief Justice talked to him once more, Subramanium reiterated his decision. Justice Lodha said, “On June 29 when he wrote a letter reiterating his position, I was left with no choice but to recall the proposal (recommending Subramanium’s name for appointment as judge).”
Chief justice of Calcutta high court Arun Mishra Chief justice of Orissa high court Adarsh Goel and eminent lawyer Rohinton Nariman were the other three names recommended by the collegium which the government accepted. The three were later appointed as judges of the Supreme Court.
(With PTI inputs)