Chief Justice of India Justice TS Thakur's attempts to pacify Justice Jasti Chelameswar, one of the five senior most judges of the Supreme Court, who had on Thursday did not take part in Collegium’s meeting to discuss various issues including the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP), yielded no positive result.
Chelameswar, who refused to attend the meet on the grounds that its functioning lacked transparency, has shot off a letter to Justice Thakur expressing his inability to take part in the meeting of the Collegium, which consists of five senior most judges including the CJI, a highly- placed source told PTI.
“Such a communication has been sent. There is no reply,” Justice Chelameswar confirmed to The Hindu over phone on Friday.
The Collegium comprises the CJI and Justices AR Dave, JS Khehar, Dipak Misra and Chelameswar. Breaking ranks with his colleagues in the Collegium, which clears the appointment of judges to the SC and HCs, Justice Chelameswar expressed his unhappiness over the entire selection process.
He was also the lone dissenting judge on the five-judge Constitution Bench led by Justice Khehar, which scrapped the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) law passed by Parliament and upheld the Collegium system of judicial appointments in a majority judgment in October last year.
It has now come to light that except Justice Chelameswar, all other judges, including Justice Thakur, had assembled for the meeting on Thursday which ultimately got postponed.
The apex court judiciary and the government have been at loggerheads on the finalisation of the MoP which will deal with the procedures to be followed in the appointment of judges in High Courts and the Supreme Court.
Recently the Supreme Court, while hearing a PIL, had sent out a stern message to the government over non-execution of the Collegium's decision to transfer and appoint Chief Justices and judges in High Courts.
It had warned the Centre that the court would not tolerate "logjam in judges' appointment" and would intervene to "fasten accountability" as the justice delivery system is "collapsing".
In his dissenting judgement, which had quashed the NJAC Act and the 99th constitutional amendment, Justice Chelameswar had said that the Collegium system of judges' appointment was "opaque and inaccessible" to the people at large and it needed "transparency".
He had said the assumption that "primacy of the judiciary" in the appointment of judges was a basic feature of the Constitution "is empirically flawed."
The Supreme Court judge had said that in the last 20 years, after the advent of Collegium system, a number of recommendations made by the collegia of High Courts were rejected by the Collegium of the Supreme Court.
Justice Chelameswar is the fifth senior most judge in the Supreme Court hierarchy and is scheduled to retire on June 22, 2018.