Law Minister may meet CJI to discuss govt-judiciary rift

New Delhi : Amid growing differences between the government and the judiciary over a host of issues, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is likely to meet Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra later this month.

Sources in the government said the Department of Justice in the Law Ministry has prepared a note for the minister on pending issues to be raised at the proposed meeting.

A Law Ministry official said the two can meet to discuss various issues and that the meeting should not be hyped. “There are various channels for them to communicate. If there is a meeting, there is nothing unusual about it,” said the official.

The elevation of justice KM Joseph and senior SC lawyer Indu Malhotra to the top court bench, the controversy surrounding alleged sexual harassment charge against a Karnataka district judge recommended for elevation to high court are some of the issues which may come up at the meeting.

The date of the proposed meeting was not immediately known. The delay in finalising the Memorandum of Procedure, which guides transfer and elevation of HC and SC judges, may also come up for discussion.

The proposed meeting assumes significance as two senior judges of the apex court, justices J Chelameswar and Kurian Joseph, have flagged issues to suggest that the executive was constantly overruling the recommendations of the judiciary.

They had raised the issues in their respective letters to the CJI and other judges of the top court.

Irked over the government’s delay in clearing the Collegium’s recommendation to elevate a judge and a senior woman advocate to the apex court, Justice Kurian Joseph wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India contending the “very life and existence” of the institution was “under threat” and a “surgical intervention” was required.

Earlier, Justice Chelameswar, the senior-most judge after the CJI had  cautioned that “the bonhomie between the judiciary and the government in any state sounds the death knell to democracy”.

                The unprecedent letter, copies of which were also sent to 22 other apex court judges, has questioned the probe initiated by the Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari against District and Sessions Judge Krishna Bhat at the instance of Union Ministry of Law and Justice, despite his name being recommended for elevation twice by the Collegium.

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