A recommendation to elevate two judges to the Supreme Court by the top court's collegium has run into trouble, with the Centre insisting on a re-think. The collegium's letter of recommendation has been returned by the centre, which has cited concerns over seniority, sources said. The judges are Justice Aniruddha Bose of Jharkhand High Court and Justice AS Bopanna of the Gauhati High Court.
The collegium had sent in its recommendation on April12, just as the mammoth seven-phase national elections started. Sources said it will meet soon to discuss the government's objections.
Last year, the government had locked horns with the judiciary, refusing to clear the name of Justice KM Joseph for elevation to the top court.
The government cited two reasons for its decision: There were more senior judges who deserved elevation and the Kerala High Court was already adequately represented in the Supreme Court. The opposition claimed that the judge was being targeted for ruling against imposition of President's Rule in Uttarakhand three years ago.
The government was forced to accept his elevation when the collegium reasserted its choice and Justice Joseph took oath in August last year.
According to a resolution signed by top Supreme Court judges, the collegium had decided to elevate Justices Bose and Bopanna on the basis of merit, seniority and representation to high courts.
"While recommending these names, the collegium has taken into consideration, apart from their merit and integrity, the combined seniority on all-India basis of Chief Justices and senior judges of high courts. The collegium has also kept in mind the desirability of giving due representation on the bench of the Supreme Court, as far as possible, to all the high courts," it read.
The top court has a sanctioned strength of 31 judges. If passed, the new appointments would take the number of judges in the Supreme Court from 27 to 29.