Elevation of judges: Govt to send back recommendation

The Supreme Court. DH file photo

The Union government has decided to send back a recommendation for the elevation of Jharkhand High Court chief justice Aniruddha Bose and Gauhati High Court chief justice A S Bopanna to the top court, for reconsideration by the Supreme Court Collegium.

Sources, however, did not specify the reasons for the decision to send back the recommendations. But it is learnt that disregard the principle of seniority and due regional representation formed the basis for the decision.

Justice Bose stood at serial number 12 and Justice Bopanna at 36 in the combined seniority of High Court judges on all-India basis.

Justice Bose originally hailed from Calcutta High Court while Justice Bopanna from Karnataka High Court.

There is at present only one judge, Justice Indira Banerjee in the SC, from the Calcutta HC. However, there are two judges from Karnataka HC, Justices Mohan M Shantanagoudar and S Abdul Nazeer, in the top court. 

The five-judge Collegium headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi had on April 12 recommended for the elevation of both chief justices as judges of the top court.

If the Collegium reiterates the recommendations, the government would have no choice but to clear the names and issue notifications for an appointment.

The five-judge Collegium, also comprising Justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana, Arun Mishra and R F Nariman, had then taken into consideration various factors including merit and integrity, combined seniority on the all-India basis of Chief Justices and senior puisne Judges of High Courts, to recommend the names of two judges.

Notably, Justice Bopanna would have become the third judge in the Supreme Court from Karnataka High Court, had the recommendation been cleared.

Justice Bose was appointed as a judge of the Calcutta High Court on January 19, 2004 and was elevated as Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court on August 11, 2018.

Justice Bopanna, on the other hand, was appointed as a judge of the Karnataka High Court on January 6, 2006 and was elevated as Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court on October 29, 2018.

Had the recommendations been cleared, the number of judges in the Supreme Court would have risen from current 27 to 29, against the sanctioned strength of 31.

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