NEW DELHI: Chief Justice of India R M Lodha on Tuesday said segregation of former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium’s name from other three nominees for appointment as Supreme Court judges was done unilaterally by the Executive, which was not proper and expressed his concern over the independence of judiciary. “The first thing I had taken objection to was the segregation of Gopal Subramanium’s file unilaterally by the Executive. It is not proper,” he said at the farewell function of Justice
B S Chauhan. Justice Lodha asserted that independence of judiciary was of utmost importance to him and told the lawyers, “Don’t get the impression that independence of judiciary was compromised.”
“I promise 1.2 billion people of India that independence of judiciary will not be compromised,” he said adding, “I will be the first person to leave this chair if the judiciary’s independence is compromised.”
Justice Lodha expressed his disappointment over Subramanium going public with his grievance when he was abroad. “I came back on June 28 and had a meeting with Subramanium asking him to reconsider (his decision to withdraw consent for being appointed as judge).
He replied the next day with a six-line letter expressing his decision (withdrawal of his consent) that he cannot go back on it.” After a few days when he talked to him again, Subramanium reiterated his decision, said Lodha. “On June 29, when he wrote a letter reiterating his position, I was left with no choice but to recall the proposal (recommending Subramanium’s name for appointment as judge),” the Chief Justice said while clearing the controversy publicly. Subramanium had in June withdrawn his name from appointment as SC judge saying it was to save his honour.