A new channel of dialogue between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi on issues relating to judicial appointments is a reason for the quick-fire filling of judicial vacancies in the Supreme Court and the High Courts, Justice Kurian Joseph, who retired as the third most senior judge of the Supreme Court, told The Hindu on December 5.
The speedy judicial appointments were due to “better clarity” that prevails after Justice Gogoi took over as the Chief Justice of India, he said.
“The Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India certainly had discussions on these issues. Both heads would have taken appropriate decision to expedite the process. There is no delay now. They have sorted out the gaps…,” Justice Kurian, who was part of Chief Justice Gogoi’s collegium till his retirement on November 29, said.
When asked whether there was some miscommunication or gap before Chief Justice Gogoi took over, he said, “I think so. The lack of proper communication between the two heads stood in the way. If there is any problem, they should sit together and work it out.”
To a question whether regular dialogue between the government and judiciary is healthy, as the government remains the largest litigant in courts, he said the dialogue was on judicial appointment issues and not about any litigation. It was not closed-door but an open dialogue.
“There is no problem. Look at the persons, one is the Prime Minister of India and the other is the Chief Justice of India. One is heading the nation. The other is heading the Supreme Court, rather the Karta of the judiciary in India. They know the limits within which they should talk and the limits they should not cross in their dialogue. They are mature people. There is no room for personal matters to come in,” he said.
The recent visit of the Prime Minister to the Supreme Court was a “simple, routine process…a matter of courtesy,” he said.
The former judge cleared the air that the unprecedented January 12 press conference, of which he was part of, was based on a “perception” that then CJI Dipak Misra was not functioning independently. Justice Kurian said there was no point resurrecting “buried issues.”