The Supreme Court Collegium yesterday recommended the names of Justices Bhushan Ramkrishna Gavai and Surya Kant for elevation to the Supreme Court.
Both judges have been recommended by the Collegium after taking into consideration the seniority criterion as well as their competence, conduct and integrity, states the resolution.
Notably, Justice Gavai’s elevation has been recommended also keeping in view SC/ST representation at the Supreme Court. The resolution notes,
“On his appointment, the Supreme Court Bench will have a Judge belonging to Scheduled Caste category after about a decade.”
In this context, the Collegium also emphasizes,
“His recommendation, in no way, is to be misconstrued to mean that three senior-most Judges from Bombay High Court (two of whom are serving as Chief Justices) are less suitable than Mr. Justice Gavai.”
Justice Gavai was born on November 24, 1960. He enrolled at the Bar on March 16, 1985, and practised at the Bombay High Court, predominantly at the Nagpur Bench. He served as Assistant Government Pleader, Additional Public Prosecutor and subsequently Public Prosecutor. He was appointed additional judge of the Bombay High Court on November 14, 2003.
Justice Surya Kant’s proposed elevation was made also “keeping in mind the desirability of giving due representation on the Bench of the Supreme Court, as far as possible, to all the High Courts.”
Justice Surya Kant is currently serving as Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court. His name was mired in controversy last year when Justice AK Goel (then a Supreme Court judge) had penned a letter to then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra disagreeing with the proposal to appoint him as Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court.
In his letter, Goel J had made a note of allegations of corruption against Justice Surya Kant. He had expressed his disagreement with the recommendation until an inquiry into the allegations against Justice Kant was conducted. Further, while recommending Surya Kant J’s name for elevation, the Collegium had superseded Justice AK Mittal, who was more senior to Kant J.
Justice Goel’s opinion eventually counted for little, with the Collegium sticking by its initial decision. Thus, by a notification dated October 3, 2018, Justice Kant was appointed as Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court. Goel J’s calls for an inquiry into the allegations made against Kant J never took place.
Justice Kant started practicing law at the District Courts, Hisar in 1984 and shifted to Chandigarh in 1985 to practice at the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He was designated as Senior Advocate in March 2001. He also held the office of Advocate General, Haryana till his elevation as a permanent judge to the Punjab and Haryana High Court on January 09, 2004.
Read the Resolution: