Elevation of judges: Ex-judge questions Collegium

Elevation of judges: Ex-judge questions Collegium

The Supreme Court. DH file photo

A retired judge of the Delhi High Court has written a letter to the President questioning "superseding" of judges in Collegium's decision to recommend the name of Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Sanjeev Khanna, a Delhi HC judge, for elevation to the Supreme Court.

Contending that the decision has sent “shock waves to the entire legal and judicial fraternity”, Justice Kailash Gambhir said, “This is appalling and outrageous that such earth-shattering decision has been taken to supersede as many as 32 judges which include many chief justices, casting aspersion of their intellect, merit and integrity.”

In its decision on January 10, the SC Collegium headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi recommended the names of Justice Maheshwari and Justice Khanna for elevation as top court judges. Justice Maheshwari stood at serial number 21 in the combined seniority of High Court judges on all-India basis. Justice Khanna, on other hand, stood at serial number 33 in the combined seniority of High Court judges on all-India basis.

Justice Gambhir, in his two page letter, said the talk in the legal corridors is the elevation of Justice Khanna is being done with a view to pay respect to the legacy left by his uncle, Justice H R Khanna, who was superseded for his dissenting judgement on life and liberty of citizens during the emergency days. Justice H R Khanna had subsequently resigned.

“It will be another black day when there is supersession of 32 judges who are senior to Justice Sanjeev Khanna and many of them may be no less meritorious and men of integrity than of him,” he said.

He also questioned how Justice Maheshwari became more deserving and suitable, as just one and half month back, then Collegium did not consider his name for elevation.