Amid Controversy, Two Judges Elevated To Top Court

Amid Controversy, Two Judges Elevated To Top Court

Amid Controversy, Two Judges Elevated To Top Court 

New Delhi: The Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court,Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Sanjiv Khanna of the Delhi High Court were elevated to the Supreme Court, in the middle of questions over the appointments by the legal fraternity. This evening, the recommendation by the Supreme Court collegium was signed off this evening by President Ram Nath Kovind and the two judges are likely to take oath on Friday. In 2024, Justice Khanna is likely to be the Chief Justice of India.

The collegium's recommendation triggered a controversy, as the judges, especially Justice Khanna, is much lower in the judicial hierarchy. Many pointed out that their appointment will be unfair to the judges senior to them, including Justice Pradeep Nandrajog, who happened to be the collegium's initial choice.

The collegium, which comprises of the Apex Court's top five judges had earlier decided to recommend Justice Pradeep Nandrajog, the Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court, and Justice Rajendra Menon, the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, for elevation to the top court.

But that decision was changed in January, with the collegium sending the names of Justice Maheshwari and Justice Khanna to the government instead. A section in the legal fraternity expressed reservations about the decision, with many saying the lack of transparency can erode people's faith in the judiciary.

Former Chief Justice of India RM Lodha said the collegium "should act in a transparent manner". "A junior judge was superseded to the Supreme Court, it surprises me," he added.

Former attorney General Soli Sorabjee admitted he was "upset" over the decision.

The Bar Council of India pointing out that the constitution has made the judiciary "accountable to the public", and said that they could hold protests if the two judges are appointed.

"Our delegation will go and meet the collegium to ask them to reconsider and recall this decision. If they don't do it, we'll go and sit on a dharna," Bar Council chairman MK Mishra was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

A sitting judge of the top court, Justice SK Kaul has already expressed his reservations in writing to Chief Justice Gogoi. Kailash Gambhir,former judge of the Delhi High Court called the out-of-turn elevation of the judges "appalling" and "outrageous" in his letter to the President.

Around two months ago, Justice Maheshwari was superseded during the appointment of Justice Ajay Rastogi. Pointing it out in his letter, Justice Gambhir wrote, "Now out of the blue, he becomes more deserving and suitable within such a short gap".