Asking collegium to review decision not a sin: Ravi Shankar Prasad

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said the government didn’t commit a “cardinal sin” if it asked for reconsideration of a name suggested by the Supreme Court collegium and advised political parties that lost popular franchise not to sponsor litigation.

Mr. Prasad’s reference was to the government’s decision to return the collegium’s recommendation to elevate Uttarakhand HC Chief Justice K.M. Joseph as a Supreme Court judge and the Judge B.H. Loya case.

Claiming that the government had done well to fill vacancies in the higher judiciary, Mr. Prasad suggested a robust pan-India entrance test to allow talent infusion into the subordinate judiciary as nearly 5,000 vacancies exist there.

Reacting to charges of stalling appointments to the Supreme Court and the 24 High Courts, he said his office is not a ‘post office’ which would only process recommendations of the collegium on the appointment of judges. “I wish to make it very clear that the Law Minister or the Law Ministry is not a post office. Even in the collegium system … created by the three judgments of 1993, 1998 and 1999, the right of the government has been acknowledged to seek a reconsideration and also to give inputs,” he said, addressing an event.

Without naming it, he hit out at the Congress for using courts to settle political scores. “Those who have lost popular franchise should not make courts the centre of their political design through sponsored litigation. That will be a sad day for the country,” he said.