SC questions Modi govt for appointing new chairman



New Delhi: The Modi government was on Friday questioned by the Supreme Court for not consulting it while appointing a new chairman of a monitoring authority, looking into the investigations of 22 encounter killings in Gujarat during 2002-06.

The apex court expressed its displeasure over appointment of former Bombay High Court Chief Justice KR Vayas in place of former apex court judge, Justice MB Shah, who had quit as the panel's head on personal and health grounds.

"We should also have been told about the proposal for the appointment of new chairman," a bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai said.

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar and Gujarat's Additional Advocate General Tushar Mehta told the bench that the notification for appointment of Justice Vayas, former chairman of Maharashtra Human Rights Commission was issued yesterday as Justice Shah has refused to continue as chairman and as per the January 25 order of the apex court, the monitoring panel had to file its interim report in a time bound manner.

The bench, however, said the appointment should have been made by consulting the court as it had passed the order.

"You (Gujarat government) have unnecessarily complicated the matter. You should have come to us. You should have waited," the bench observed.

"This concerns our order. You should have brought this fact to our notice," the bench said.

The court was of the view that since the counsel for Gujarat government had come to know on Monday that the matter was listed for today they should have told the court about the proposal for the appointment of Justice Vayas.

The bench was hearing two PILs filed by veteran journalist BG Verghese and poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar, who had sought a direction for a probe by an independent agency or the CBI so that the "truth may come out".

PTI