Collegium welcomes senior counsel Indu Malhotra, KM Joseph J to Supreme Court

Supreme Court judges J Chelameswar and Ranjan Gogoi speak at a press conference

Supreme Court judges J Chelameswar and Ranjan Gogoi speak at a press conference

Asked whether the past difference of opinion about the elevation of Justice Joseph to the SC figured in the collegium meeting on Wednesday evening, an SC source said, "The collegium unanimously chose to recommend the names of Malhotra and Justice Joseph for appointment as Supreme Court judges and there was no dissenting discussion on these two names". Earlier, Justices S.M. Sikri, who became the 13th Chief Justice of India, S.C. Roy, Kuldip Singh and N. Santosh Hegde were appointed to the Supreme Court Bench directly from the Bar.

Although the Collegium's decision has been unanimously made by the Chief Justice of India along with the other four senior-most judges, it will be a matter of curiosity whether the government accepts the proposal regarding Justice Joseph this time around as his transfer file is pending. Unfortunately we could not convince him.

"Democracy will not survive without free judiciary", he added.

"The hallmark of a good democracy is an independent and impartial judge. The judge is symbolic here, it is the institution", he said.

"We have heard a lot of wise men talking about". We had no choice but to communicate to the nation to take care of the institution. Justice Aniruddha Bose from Calcutta will head Delhi High Court; Justice T. Radhakrishnan from Chhattisgarh will be chief justice in Andhra Pradesh; Justice Abhilasha Kumari, who is also the daughter of Congress leader Virbhadra Singh, will move from Gujarat to head Manipur High Court; and Justice Surya Kant from Punjab and Haryana High Court will go as chief justice to Himachal Pradesh. It was done but in such a way that it raised further questions about the integrity of institution. Many things less than desirable have happened in the last few months.

It is with great anguish and concern that we thought it proper to highlight certain judicial orders passed by this Court that adversely affected functioning of justice delivery system and independence of High Courts besides impacting administrative functioning of CJI's office.

Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that the difference with the Chief Justice arose during the assignment of the case regarding the death of Justice Loya.

When asked if the CJI should be impeached, justice Chelameswar said 'let the nation decide that'.

Justice Gogoi said that by placing the facts before the nation, they have discharged debt to the nation.

"Whatever Justice Chelameswar has told you is the whole of it". It is discharge of a debt to the nation that has brought us here. More is in the letter.

Replying a question, Justice Chelameswar said they were speaking only on their behalf.

Justice Joseph's non-elevation as an SC judge had triggered a controversy a year ago and he was said to be still in the "zone of consideration", ET reported on January 4.

If appointed, Ms. Malhotra would be only the seventh woman judge in the Supreme Court's 68-year-old history.

The apex court has posted the next hearing on the issue for Monday, 15 January.

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