The cat is out of the bag
Many media reported that two Judges in Supreme Court Collegium objected to Chief Justice of India U U Lalit’s letter circulating the appointment of four new Judges in the apex court. PGurus learned that the two Judges are Justices D Y Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul. Many people in the legal fraternity, PGurus spoke to, said that the two Judges’ dissent was only on the circulation of letter instead of physical meeting and not at all on the selection of the four new Judges, which was discussed between them earlier.
As Judges in the Collegium were out of Delhi for the Dussehra holidays, CJI Lalit through a letter sent to fellow Judges suggested new four judges for appointment in the apex court. High Court Chief Justices Ravi Shankar Jha (Punjab and Haryana HC), Sanjay Karol (Patna HC), P V Sanjay Kumar (Manipur HC), and senior Advocate K V Viswanathan were suggested for appointment as new Judges in the apex court.
Was it a matter of inconvenient timing?
Collegium meetings are held physically, and the meeting fixed on September 30th, did not take place as Justice D Y Chandrachud-headed bench held the proceedings till 9:30 pm. Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Abdul Nazeer, and K M Joseph are the other three members of the Collegium. CJI’s letter is dated October 1.
Many in legal circles said that the two Judges’ objection was to the letter circulation by the CJI Lalit on the selection of Judges instead of the conventional physical meeting. The legal news portal Bar and Bench quoted a source and said that the two Judges had only a problem with the style of the Collegium meeting which is always in-person. “This is an unprecedented act. There are reasons, merits, and demerits why a judge is not elevated, and putting them in writing is not proper. It was also declined as a matter of process. The solemnity of the process cannot be compromised,” said the Bar and Bench report, quoting a reliable source
Differ only in the process
According to top legal experts in Delhi, the two Judges differ only in the process of circulating the letter asking the Collegium members to write their opinion. They say Collegium will never keep a record of objections or opinions on the selection of Judges. According to people from the legal fraternity who support CJI U U Lalit say, the CJI took an unprecedented method, as his tenure ends by November 8, and hardly any time left and so he took an immediate step to fill the vacancies in the apex court of India.
The Collegium system of selection of Judges for the High Court and Supreme Court started in India in 1993 after the Supreme Court’s landmark Judgment 1993. As per the Constitution of India, the Judges in High Court are selected by Chief Minister and the concerned High Court Chief Justice and in many cases, it was well known that the political head – Chief Minister – decided the selection. The same was the practice in Supreme Court. Although Law Minister is the political head and it was well known that the Prime Minister decides all for practical purposes.
The landmark Judgment of 1993, which established a Collegium of senior Judges selecting the High Court and Supreme Court Judges, asked the Parliament of India to come up with proper legislation. In 2016, NJAC Act was passed giving more power to political heads, the Supreme Court quashed that Act, which was passed unanimously by Parliament. To date, Parliament could not resolve this issue.
Note: Hope the Judges in Supreme Court will not take this article as Contempt of Court and be large-hearted as dissemination of news is a vibrant aspect of a democracy.
 Two Collegium judges object to letter circulated by CJI UU Lalit to appoint new Supreme Court judges – Oct 04, 2022, Bar and Bench
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