Almost two years after his initial recommendation by the Supreme Court Collegium, the Centre appointed senior advocate Somasekhar Sundaresan as an additional judge of the Bombay High Court on Thursday.
The Supreme Court Collegium, led by the Chief Justice of India, D Y Chandrachud, had reiterated Sundaresan as one of three names, strongly advocating for him by revealing the government's objections in January of this year.
The reasons for each nomination and the government's objections were publicly disclosed by the Collegium. This involved not only Sundaresan, but also senior advocate Saurabh Kirpal for the Delhi High Court, and advocate R John Sathyan for the Madras High Court.
On Sundaresan, the Collegium statement had said the government had sought reconsideration of his name on the grounds “that he has aired his views in social media on several matters, which are the subject matter of consideration before the courts".
According to the statement from the Collegium, the government's objections were that Sundaresan was “a highly biased opinionated person”, that “he has been selectively critical on social media on important policy initiatives and directions of the government", Indian Express reported.
Underlining that all citizens have a right to free speech and expression, the Collegium had said that “expression of views by a candidate does not disentitle him to hold a constitutional office so long as the person proposed for judgeship is a person of competence, merit and integrity".
Sundaresan, a 1996-batch graduate of the Government Law College, Mumbai, spent over five years in journalism before taking up law practice, beginning in the port sector.
He has developed a specialty as a lawyer in fields such as financial sector regulation, competition law, company matters, and exchange controls.
While his nomination for a judgeship was still under consideration, he was selected by the Supreme Court in March to serve on a six-member expert panel tasked with examining the Hindenburg report on the Adani Group.
Although Sundaresan's appointment has been approved by the government, Kirpal and Sathyan are still awaiting their appointments. If appointed, Kirpal would become India's first openly gay judge.
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