The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved the verdict on its own petition challenging the Central Information Commission’s (CIC) order directing the chief justice of India to give details on the appointment of three apex court judges. While reserving the order, the apex court bench of Justice B Sudershan Reddy and Justice SS Nijjar said that it would also consider a suggestion by Attorney General GE Vahanvati that the entire matter be referred to the constitution bench.
The court was hearing a petition by the central public information officer of the apex court challenging the CIC order which directed the then chief justice KG Balakrishnan to make public details about the appointment of the three judges.
The CIC passed its order last year on an application by activist SC Aggrawal under the right to information (RTI) law seeking details on the appointment Justice HL Dattu, Justice AK Ganguly and Justice RM Lodha.
All the three judges were elevated to the apex court superseding their seniors.
Arguing that the matter be referred to the constitution bench, Vahanvati told the court that the appointment of judges involved the substantial question of law and the independence of judiciary.
Appearing for Aggarwal, senior counsel Prashant Bhushan said: “There was a growing disquiet over the manner in which judicial appointments are being made under the existing system”.
Denial of information on the appointment of judges was giving rise to misgivings in the minds of the people, the senior counsel said.He said the appointment process could not be kept shrouded in secrecy.He said people want to “see and know” how transparent was the process of appointment of judges in higher judiciary