Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today lauded the Supreme Court’s initiative to make trial court appointments more transparent and appealed to states, opposing the proposed centralised selection mechanism, to reconsider their stand. Prasad, while addressing the Independence Day celebrations organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) here, said that the Centre would not “impinge upon the rights of the high courts”. “Let me assure those who have concern that the government of India in no way would want to impinge upon the rights of the high courts. We are aware of the rights of the high courts and the Constitution but yes it is a fact that the subordinate judiciary needs to have better intake for good quality,” he said. “Why shouldn’t we have a good intake by a more stricter selection process. I fully endorse that and I compliment the Supreme Court and would appeal to those high courts and the states which are opposing it to reconsider as this initiative is for the country,” Prasad added. The apex court had on August 4 indicated that it was inclined to go ahead with a proposal for a centralised selection mechanism for appointment of judicial officers in the subordinate judiciary even if there was no amicable consensus among the various high courts and the states. Prasad also said that this year, till yesterday, 75 new appointments were made to various high courts across the nation.
However, a statement on appointments to the lower judiciary by SCBA president R S Suri in his address, did not go down well with Chief Justice J S Khehar. Suri, in his address, mentioned that 33 per cent of parliamentarians have criminal cases against their names and that most of the judges are the children of senior judges of the higher judiciary. “What appears to be a blatant misuse of authority may not truly be a blatant misuse of authority, Mr President,” Justice Khehar said. The CJI said that a few months ago he saw a news report saying his son was appointed to a panel of Punjab government but it turned out to be some other Khehar and was a case of mistaken identity. Justice Khehar also mentioned about a young “impressive” lawyer who never wanted to become a judge since he feared that people would say he became a judge because his father is one. “So Mr President sir, please don’t say that. There are many wise children in this country. They may be the children of judges, Dalits, Brahmins. In independent India, we stand together to achieve whatever we can achieve,” Justice Khehar said. The chief justice informed the gathering that the apex court has decided to upgrade and place on its website all the Supreme Court reports with head-notes. He also asked the lawyers to be honest with their clients.