Supreme Court pushes for ‘full’ strength of 31
Collegium is against rethink on new judges; adds two names
In a single stroke on the same day, the Supreme Court Collegium, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, recommended the names of two judges to the court and rejected the government’s disapproval of the elevation of two others.
If the four judges are elevated without delay, the Gogoi Court would reach the full sanctioned judicial strength of 31 judges by the time it re-opens in July after the summer vacations.
No review of decision
On Thursday, the Collegium refused the government’s request to reconsider its April 12 recommendation to elevate Jharkhand High Court and Gauhati High Court Chief Justices Aniruddha Bose and A.S. Bopanna as Supreme Court judges. The Collegium said their names were recommended after all parameters were considered. The Collegium said there was no reason to agree with the government as there was nothing adverse found in the two judges’ conduct, competence or integrity. Now, the government is bound to appoint Justices Bose and Bopanna to the court.
On May 8, the Collegium also recommended Justice B.R. Gavai, a judge of the Bombay High Court, and Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court Surya Kant for elevation to the Supreme Court.
On this recommendation, the Collegium said it zeroed in on Justices Gavai and Kant to provide “due representation”, as far as possible, to all High Courts as well as to all sections, including those belonging to the SC/ST/OBC categories, women and minorities.
The Collegium said Justice Gavai superseded three judges in the Bombay High Court, but this should not be misconstrued as a reflection on the ability of the three senior judges.
It said that though seniority was to be given due weightage, merit should be the “predominant consideration”.
Representation for the SC/ST category seems to have played in the mind of the Collegium while recommending Justice Gavai’s elevation.
The Collegium noted that “on his appointment, the Supreme Court Bench will have a Judge belonging to the Scheduled Caste category after about a decade”.
Justice Kant was the subject of controversy over a letter written by Justice A.K. Goel (retired) to the then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.