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Friday, December 9, 2022

SC collegium: Two judges opposed process of selection & appointing judges by circulation

The Supreme Court collegium has said that the two members of the collegium had objected to the process of selection and appointing judges by circulation.

The Chief Justice of India U.U. Lalit, who heads the collegium, had written to its four members � Justices D.Y Chandrachud, S.K. Kaul, S. Abdul Nazeer, and K.M Joseph — earlier this month seeking their consent for the elevation of Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Ravi Shankar Jha; Patna High Court Chief Justice Sanjay Karol; Manipur High Court Chief Justice P V Sanjay Kumar; and senior advocate K V Viswanathan.

A joint statement, uploaded on the apex court’s website dated October 9, said: “The proposal initiated by the CJI had concurrence from Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice K.M. Joseph. Dr. Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer had objected to the process of selection and appointing judges by circulation. The matter was, therefore, ideally suited to have a discussion across the table amongst the judges forming the collegium”.

However, a letter on October 7, 2022 was received from the Union Law Minister requesting the CJI to nominate his successor to take over the office of CJI with effect from November 9. “In the circumstances, no further steps need be taken and the unfinished work in the meeting called for September 30, 2022 is closed without there being any further deliberation. The meeting dated September 30 stands discharged”, added the statement, issued by all the members of the collegium.

The collegium said though the procedure of circulating the judgments of the prospective candidates and making an objective assessment of their relative merit was introduced for the first time in the meeting held on September 26 and though the name of justice Dipankar Dutta was also cleared in that meeting, a demand was raised by some of the members of the collegium that they should have more judgments of the other candidates. Therefore, the meeting was postponed to September 30 and more judgments were circulated.

In continuation of the deliberations that took place on September 26, 2022, the postponed meeting of the collegium was convened on September 30 at 4.30 p.m. However, since justice Chandrachud did not attend the meeting, the CJI sent a proposal vide letter dated September 30, 2022, by way of circulation. “The proposal received the approval of justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice K.M. Joseph vide their respective letters dated October 1 and October 7. By separate letters dated October 1, Dr Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, objected inter alia to the method adopted in the letter dated September 30”, said the statement.

It further added that the letters by Justices Chandrachud and Nazeer, however, did not disclose any views against any of these candidates. “This was brought to their Lordships’ notice and reasons were solicited and/or alternative suggestions were invited vide second communication dated 02-10- 2022 addressed by the CJI. There was no response to said communication”, said the statement.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed)

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