This refers to the report “Govt. defends move against Subramanium after CJI rap,” (July 3). It is strange that there is much controversy over the alleged segregation of Mr. Gopal Subramanium’s name from a list of four that a Supreme Court collegium had recommended for appointment as judges of the apex court. Such issues happen to most people in their career in both the government and private sectors. The list in question was apparently prepared by the collegium in a subjective manner.
Nowhere is it laid down that the government should adopt it without any scrutiny. The incident shows that there must be a new and foolproof procedure for the selection of judges, formulated with the mutual consultation of all stakeholders.
Mr. Subramanium queered the pitch for himself by almost accusing the judiciary of not standing by him. Further, the narrative — as it has evolved in the media — is grossly unfair to the other three nominees by casting doubt over their independence and competence. The speculation over whether the NDA government wants to revert to an era of committed judges makes it doubly unfair to the judge appointees. Perhaps, the executive was correct in its assessment. It has ended up being more dignified than the other key players.
There is no denying the fact that the existing system of judicial appointments is probably based on the Supreme Court’s unilateral construction of principles which could run contrary to the spirit of the doctrine of checks and balances. In the Gopal Subramanium case, the government owes us an explanation over the ambiguity surrounding the segregation of his name. At the same time, the judiciary too needs to work with the government in exploring a more transparent, balanced and accountable way of judicial appointments and one that is especially insulated from political interference.
Truth is the casualty (Editorial, July 3). The real reason for the government not approving the name of Mr. Subramanium is already in the public domain though not specifically stated by the government. There are IB reports on the role of Mr. Subramaniam in various cases. What he has done may not be illegal, but there is the important issue of propriety and perception. Challenging all this in a court of law may have resulted in more dirt being dug up, making the episode an unedifying spectacle.
Unfortunately, the CJI has appeared to have behaved like a politician. If he had any divergence of opinion with the recommendation for reconsideration he could have demanded an explanation from the government officially and in a subtle manner rather than bringing the office of the CJI into confrontation with the government. Separately, Mr. Subramaniam has cast a slur on his brother judges by saying that he will not toe the government line.