Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily has written to the Chief Justice of India and Chief Justices of all High Courts, asking them to recommend names of only persons of impeccable integrity and merit for elevation to the Bench. The letter was sent out early this week.When contacted, Moily acknowledged having written the letter, saying the government wanted the judiciary to take into account aspirations of the public before recommending names for judgeship.
This comes even as questions continue to be raised over the manner in which the Supreme Court collegium recommended the name of Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P D Dinakaran for elevation to the Supreme Court despite serious charges against him. Rajya Sabha MPs have moved an impeachment motion against Dinakaran.
The Vice President has already formed a three-member committee of jurists, comprising Supreme Court Judge V S Sirpurkar, Andhra Pradesh High Court Chief Justice A R Dave and senior Supreme Court lawyer P P Rao, to investigate the charges against Dinakaran, including those of corruption and land-grabbing.
In his letter to the judiciary, Moily has requested the CJI and judges to ensure that the recommendation of names made by them take care of the aspirations of all sections of the society, including women.
“Merit should be the most important criteria. But no person of questionable integrity should be there. We would also like the recommendations to be made expeditiously so that there are no vacancies,” Moily told The Sunday Express.
Set to introduce the Judges Standards and Accountability Bill in the ongoing session of Parliament, Moily said the legislation would go a long way in tackling instances of corruption in the judiciary.
“I firmly believe that Indian judiciary is among the best and most honest in the world. But there are some aberrations. And the Judges (Inquiry) Act, which provides for only impeachment in case corruption charges are proved against sitting judges, has not had any effect. This is why the proposed Bill will be a long step forward,” he said.
“At the same time”, Moily said, “the Bill will also strengthen the judiciary. I believe in taking the judiciary along. We can’t allow judges to work under the shadow of fear or harassment. That is why the Bill has proposed strict action against anybody making frivolous, vexatious complaints against judges. We have to provide a congenial environment (to judges).”