Why These Deputations Made By CJI Chandrachud Are Raising Eyebrows In Legal Circles

by Swarajya Staff - Nov 14, 2022 02:38 PM +05:30 IST
Why These Deputations Made By CJI Chandrachud Are Raising Eyebrows In Legal CirclesCJI Chandrachud.
Snapshot
  • While the CJI has special powers to direct the recruitment/deputation of anyone he finds suitable, these two deputations made by CJI Chandrachud have caught the attention for being 'irregular' and 'unprecedented'.

Following his oath, CJI Chandrachud called upon several officers including some judicial officers and an Allahabad High Court employee to work with, or in, the office of the Chief Justice of India. 

The two deputations made by the CJI though are being discussed for being ‘irregular’ and 'unprecedented':

  1. The CJI has deputed Rajiv Sharma, a retired judicial officer of the Uttar Pradesh judiciary, as his principal private secretary (PPS) in the post of Officer on Special Duty (Registrar). 

Sharma has previously worked as Registrar (Judicial) (Services) at the time when Justice Chandrachud was the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court. 

While it is a routine procedure that judicial officers across the country are called upon to the Supreme Court and deputed as Registrar/Additional Registrar, in one of the very rare occurrences, a retired judicial officer has been called and deputed as a Registrar, that too as the PPS to the CJI.

  1. As reported herein, right after Justice Chandrachud took oath as the CJI, a letter was forwarded by the Registrar (Administration), Supreme Court to the Registrar General, Allahabad High Court, requesting to release Afzal Hussain Abbasi, who was working as a Private Secretary-cum-Deputy Registrar in the Allahabad High Court. 

Abbasi was Justice Chandrachud’s secretary while he was the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court.

Interestingly, Abbasi has been deputed in the Supreme Court as an Additional Registrar, one of the senior-most service posts in the apex court.

As per the Supreme Court Officers and Servants (Condition of Services and Conduct) Rules, 1961, in case of deputation, an additional registrar has to be someone who has served as a judicial officer for at least seven years. 

In the case of Abbasi, he was a regular employee of the Allahabad High Court, currently holding the post of Deputy Registrar-cum-Private Secretary Grade-III, and was hired through the direct recruitment process of the Allahabad High Court. 

While there’s no denying the fact that the CJI has special powers to direct the recruitment/deputation of anyone he finds suitable, the aforesaid deputation remains to be unprecedented as it is very rare that someone working as a private secretary in a high court has been directly deputed as an Additional Registrar of the apex court, a post which is reserved for senior judicial officers of the country or senior-most employees of the Supreme Court.

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