Elevation of Indu Malhotra alone shows interference of Centre in Judiciary: SC Bar Association

Supreme Court of India.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Bar Association, while welcoming the appointment of senior advocate Indu Malhotra as a judge of the apex court, called it an interference in the working of the judiciary.

The Bar association has commented so, as the Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph’s elevation is not yet finalised. The opinion of the Bar Association comes a day after the Central government cleared the appointment of senior advocate Indu Malhotra.

“Indu Malhotra is a fine lawyer & she will prove to be a great judge. I have a huge reservation at the attitude of the government, there is no way by which they should not have cleared Justice KM Joseph’s name. By making one appointment and not making another, the government has interfered in the functioning of the judiciary. This is a very serious matter and should be taken up with the government very strongly,” said Supreme Court Bar Association President Advocate Vikas Singh.

The appointment of Indu Malhotra indicates that the government has decided to put on hold the elevation of Justice KM Joseph. Indu Malhotra’s appointment is historic as she will be the first woman judge to be appointed to the top post directly from the bar.

According to reports, on January 22, 2018, the Supreme Court collegium’s file supporting the elevation of Justice Joseph and Indu Malhotra reached the Law Ministry. The credentials were kept in temporary suspension, as the government wanted to elevate only Malhotra.

Justice KM Joseph is the 42nd in the seniority list of 669 high court judges. It is the Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who would reportedly write to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra about its decision to give appointment only Indu Malhotra. The Supreme Court collegium has Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra as its head and includes the four senior-most judges – Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph.