Averting a stand-off between the judiciary and the executive, President Pratibha Patil has cleared the appointment of Allahabad High Court Chief Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad as Supreme Court judge.
The Centre accepted the Supreme Court collegium’s recommendation reiterating its earlier stand and thereby avoided a confrontation with the judiciary. It forwarded the recommendation to the President, who signed the file. The warrant of appointment is expected in a day or two. Now, the strength of judges in the Supreme Court will go up to 27 with four vacancies to be filled.
The collegium in November last recommended the elevation of the then Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court, Swatantar Kumar, and Justice Prasad. Justice Kumar’s elevation was approved and he was sworn in judge of the Supreme Court on December 18.
However, the government returned the file on Justice Prasad following a note put up by the President asking whether seniority had been overlooked in the recommendation. Clarifications were also sought on allegations of corruption against him.
The collegium examined the allegations and found them baseless and returned the file to the Law Ministry for processing the appointment. Under the Memorandum of Procedure, once the collegium confirms its recommendation and sends back the file, the President is bound to accept it.