Two members of the Supreme Court Collegium have objected to a letter sent by Chief Justice of India UU Lalit seeking their consent to appoint four judges to the apex court.
Hindustan Times had earlier reported that CJI Lalit had in an unprecedented move written a letter to his fellow judges in the collegium seeking their consent for appointment of four new judges to the Supreme Court.
The following names were recommended for elevation in the letter:
Justice Ravi Shankar Jha (Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court)
Justice Sanjay Karol (Chief Justice of Patna High Court)
Justice PV Sanjay Kumar (Chief Justice of Manipur High Court)
Senior Advocate KV Viswanathan.
As per the usual convention, the Collegium holds physical meetings to discuss names for elevation, at which consensus of the five judges is sought.
Sources clarified to Bar & Bench that the two judges took objection only to the unprecedented nature of this "letter by circulation," and not to the candidates who have been recommended, “since (Collegium) deliberations are involved" before recommending elevations.
A source informed Bar & Bench that the CJI had sent the letter to all the judges of the Collegium on October 1, following which two judges refused to grant consent.
“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 source close to the development.
The Collegium was slated to hold a meeting on September 30 to confirm names to be recommended for appointment to the Supreme Court. However, the meeting could not be held since the second senior-most judge, Justice DY Chandrachud, was holding court till 9:10 pm on that day.