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The President of the Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association (GHCAA), Senior Advocate Yatin Oza has requested the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to expedite the process of appointment of judges to the Gujarat High Court.
In a letter addressed to the CJI, Yatin Oza has requested the Collegium not to wait for a response from the State government on the Collegium’s recommendations for appointment of judges to the High Court. The reference made by the Collegium is being purposefully and intentionally delayed by the State government, Oza’s letter states.
The process of appointment of judges to the High Courts and to the Supreme Court is a continuous one. Various Constitutional dignitaries and functionaries are involved in the process and a Memorandum of Procedure needs to devised wherein a time frame is followed and each functionary discharges its duties within the time frame to achieve the end result, Oza has suggested.
Specific reference has been made to the recommendation made by the Collegium of the Gujarat High Court in May this year concerning the appointment of 15 Advocates and 5 Judicial Officers to the High Court. The State government has responded only on the proposal to appoint judicial officers, no response has been received yet from the State government on the remaining proposal which has prompted Oza to write the letter.
In his letter, Oza has also divulged the talk of the grapevine that the functionaries of the State are allegedly heard claiming that they are “assessing the loyalty of the person concerned as to whether they will remain loyal to the Constitution or the political party.”
Oza also raises the issue of non-adherence to the MoP and pins the blame on the Government for not adhering to timelines. He has also criticised the Collegium for “surrendering” before the government.
“It has been seen in the recent past that the State government and the Central government show scant respect for the timeline mentioned in the MoP and the Collegium of the Hon’ble Supreme Court abjectly surrenders before them.”
Without mincing any words, Oza also states that the state of affairs in this process is far from ideal with the Collegium conceding to the government’s wishes. This, he says, renders the ratio laid down in the Second and Third judges cases of no actual value in practice.
“And Sir, everytime the collegium concedes on the ground that if you do not concede in one or two cases, there will be a logjam, stalemate, deadlock, etc., I think the ratio laid down in the Second Judges Case and third Judges case is merely on paper. What a shocking state of affairs that the collegium recommends a judge to be made permanent to Hon’ble Allahabad High Court and the Centre issues notification continuing him as an additional Judge. I don’t think there can be a shameful surrender by the Collegium than this.”
The fight is for the independence of the judiciary and for the supremacy of the opinion of the Collegium, Oza asserts citing examples from the past of when the GHCAA had chosen to go on strike over delay in appointments.
Oza ends the letter outlining his sole request which is that the Supreme Collegium should consider the proposal made by the Gujarat High Court collegium without waiting for the State government’s response.