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Executive, judiciary bury the hatchet

Executive, judiciary bury the hatchet
CJI JS Khehar (photo: JS Studio), Supreme Court (Bhavana Gaur)

With the induction of Justice JS Khehar as the chief justice of India (CJI), the judiciary-executive deadlock that existed and exacerbated during the tenure of the last CJI, TS Thakur, was being slowly removed. With Justice Khehar and the Supreme Court collegium taking cognizance of the national security clause that the government had been harping on, the overall issue is on its way to an amicable settlement.

This was visible with the finalisation of the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for appointment of judges to the higher judiciary, which amends the existing eligibility criteria for judges to be appointed to the Supreme Court and to various high courts of the country.

The MoP will be sent to the government for its approval. The collegiums will also not object to the setting up of secretariats in all high courts and at the Supreme Court where databases will be maintained on judges, aiding in the selection of judges.

Justice Khehar had earlier indicated that the Supreme Court was anyway under-staffed (with only 23 of the sanctioned 31 judges) and there will be even less this year with the retirement of Justice Khehar, and Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Prafulla Chandra Pant. To this effect, five chief justices were promoted from different high courts to raise the number to 28. That will again fall by 3 with the retirements.

The overall shortfall around the country, as former CJI TS Thakur had maintained, was around 500. This agreement between the government and the judiciary will pave the way for better induction.

—By India Legal Bureau