Justice Chandrachud Objects To CJI Lalit’s Last Collegium Proposal
Justice Chandrachud objects to the ‘method adopted' by CJI Lalit to finalise elevation of high court judges to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court collegium has issued a statement stating that it will not undertake any further deliberations on the 10 names it had identified for consideration as judges of the Supreme Court.
The collegium’s meeting took place on 26 September, when a total of 11 names were considered for appointment.
The name of Justice Dipankar Datta, the present Chief Justice of Bombay High Court was finalised.
However, the candidature of the other 10 names was still under consideration as their judgements (for examining the quality of judicial work) were to be examined.
Therefore, on 26 September, it was unanimously resolved, that the meeting would convene on 30 September at 4.30 pm.
In an unprecedented turn of events and a very rare happening in the Supreme Court, the bench presided by Justice D Y Chandrachud sat till 9pm, around five hours beyond the regular working hours.
This led to Justice Chandrachud (second most senior judge of the Supreme Court and upcoming Chief Justice of India) not being available for the collegium meeting, therefore the same could not take place.
As the matter was urgent, the Chief Justice of India, U U Lalit sent a proposal by way of circulation.
While the Supreme Court statement did not detail on the proposal, but it has been reported that the said resolution contained names of four candidates for appointment as Supreme Court judges, this included three judges and a senior advocate.
The proposal received assent of the two judges, namely justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, but justices Chandrachud and S Abdul Nazeer objected to the ‘method adopted’ by the CJI.
Thereafter, the CJI also sent another letter dated 2 October, for soliciting the reasons and inviting alternative suggestions from justices Chandrachud and Nazeer.
However, the two judges chose to remain silent and there was no response on the said communication.
Now on 7 October, the Law Ministry sent a letter to the CJI for nomination of his successor, who would be Justice Chandrachud (being the second senior-most judge).
CJI Lalit is slated to retire on 8 November and as per the Supreme Court convention, the outgoing CJI does not hold collegium meetings when the appointment of his successor has already started.
Therefore, the resolution stated that in view of the above circumstances, no further steps need to be undertaken for the unfinished work in the meeting called for 30 September and hence the same is closed without further deliberations.
Thus, as of today, the collegium remains undecided on the appointment of the 10 judges to the apex court.
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