The government is understood to have returned the recommendation for appointment of senior advocate Gopal Subramanium as a Supreme Court judge to its collegium with a request to reconsider the decision.
Sources in the government said while returning the recommendation relating to the former Solicitor General to the collegium headed by Chief Justice of India R M Lodha, the government has cleared the other names for appointment. Those cleared are Calcutta High Court Chief Justice Arun Mishra, Orissa High Court Chief Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and senior advocate Rohinton Nariman. The warrants of appointments in these cases are likely to be issued by the Rashtrapati Bhavan shortly, the sources said.
The government is learnt to have sent a note to the collegium giving out reasons for its reservations over appointing Subramanium to the apex court.
As amicus curiae in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, Subramanium was critical of the Gujarat government headed by Narendra Modi and brought out new facts on the basis of which the Supreme Court had ordered a CBI probe into the case.
As per the Memorandum of Procedure relating to the appointment of Supreme Court judges, the government can return the file for reconsideration once. But if the collegium reiterates its recommendation, the government has to comply with it. There is no fixed time frame for the government to appoint a judge once the recommendation is reiterated by the collegium. It is very rare that the collegium recommends names of lawyers to be appointed as Supreme Court judges.
Justice N Santosh Hegde was the last lawyer to have been elevated directly to the SC. Hegde was appointed as a judge of the apex court in 1999.