‘A carefully orchestrated drama to scuttle my elevation’

In a nine-page letter to Chief Justice of India R M Lodha, former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium withdrew his consent for appointment as a Supreme Court judge protesting against ‘a very carefully orchestrated drama’ to scuttle his elevation. Following are excerpts from the letter.

New Delhi : “Over the past two weeks, quite a few media reports have voiced the Union Government’s reservations about my appointment. These reports speak of alleged adverse reports against me by the Intelligence Bureau and the CBI.  These media reports are malicious insinuations based on half-truths, and appear to be a result of carefully planted leaks aimed at generating doubts in the minds of the Collegium and of the public as to the suitability and propriety of appointing me as a judge of the Supreme Court.”

“I am fully conscious that my independence as a lawyer is causing apprehensions that I will not toe the line of the Government. This factor has been decisive in refusing to appoint me. “

“I am dismayed at reports that the file forwarded by the Court to the Government recommending four names for elevation(including mine), has been ‘segregated’ and the names of three candidates (not including mine) have been ‘cleared’ by the Government as well as by the Hon’ble President of India and that warrants have been issued for their appointment.”

“I further understand that this segregation has been carried out without the file being sent back to the Collegium for reconsideration.  In fact, I have now reliably learnt that no file was sent seeking reconsideration and that such segregation and appointments have been made outside your knowledge and also without the active consent of the Collegium.”

“If my understanding is correct, then the aforesaid three appointments appear to be against the framework prescribed by the Constitution and by the Supreme Court in various pronouncements.”

“If I continue to be judge-in-waiting, the validity of these appointments is bound to come under a cloud. The three appointees have been my friends over so many years. The least I owe them is that I withdraw.                 I am, however, unable to dispel the sense of unease that the Judiciary has failed to assert its independence by respecting likes and dislikes of the Executive.”

“While harmony between different organs of the State is a desirable feature, the functionality of each organ is meant to have different, defining characteristics.”

“I am more than willing to step out, but I trust you and your colleagues will undertake suitable introspection. I certainly protest against a very carefully orchestrated drama to overcome a recommendation. I, however, fully forgive all those involved.”

“Under the circumstances, I withdraw my consent to be appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court, and request you to proceed on that basis, so that I may resume my position at the Bar, from where, I now feel, I will be able to better assist the institution than from within. I request you to communicate the same to the Executive Government. “However, I intend to repudiate these outrageous allegations (inspired, as I came to know, by constituents of high authority).          The Court owes me, in the very least, a clear statement of confidence, although my personal character is not dependant on the outcome of such willingness.”

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