Two out of five judges of the Supreme Court Collegium headed by the Chief Justice of India have opposed the process of selection and appointing judges by circulation for filling up the vacancies in the Supreme Court.
These facts were disclosed in the statement, issued on October 9 which became public on Monday, by an SC Collegium bench comprising Chief Justice of India UU Lalit, Justices DY Chandrachud, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, S Abdul Nazeer, and KM Joseph. “Thus, the proposal initiated by the CJI had concurrence from Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice K.M. Joseph.
Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer had objected to the process of selection and appointing judges by circulation,” the SC collegium said.
“The matter was, therefore, ideally suited to have a discussion across the table amongst the Judges, forming the Collegium,” the Collegium said, adding that a letter dated October 7, 2022, has been received from the Union Law Minister requesting the CJI to nominate his successor to take over the office of CJI w.e.f. November 9, 2022.
“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, 2022, stands discharged,” the letter stated.
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, 2022, 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 it should have more judgments of the other candidates. Therefore, the meeting was postponed to September 30, 2022, and more judgments were circulated.
The statement said, “For filling up vacancies of Judges in the Supreme Court, informal deliberations had been going on for some time and a formal meeting took place on September 26, 2022, when the names of eleven Judges were considered. As there was unanimity of opinion on the name of Justice Dipankar Dutta, Chief Justice, High Court of Bombay, a Resolution to that effect was passed and the consideration of the names of the other ten Judges was deferred till September 30, 2022”.
The letters of Justice Chandrachud and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer however, did not disclose any views against any of these candidates.
Currently, the Supreme Court is functioning with 29 serving judges. The sanctioned strength of the Supreme Court is 34 including the Chief Justice of India.
The decision of filling up vacancies of Judges in the Supreme Court will be now taken by the next SC Collegium under the leadership of the next CJI who takes the post.