Justice J Chelameswar, who stirred a controversy in August after he refused to attend the collegium meet to discuss names of high court (HC) judges for appointment to the Supreme Court (SC) unless transparency is followed in the procedure, has refused to compromise with his earlier stand.
It has been learnt that Justice Chelameswar did not attend the first collegium meet that Chief Justice JS Khehar called on Wednesday, twenty days after the latter took over as the 44th CJI. The judge’s decision to stick to his stand has raised concerns over how the intra-collegium logjam would be broken, causing uncertainty over future appointments.
The logjam comes in the background of strained relations between the NDA government and the judiciary over filling up 550 odd vacancies in various high courts. With Justice Chelameswar now getting elevated to the panel of top three judges that recommends names to the Centre, future appointments also seem unsure. Earlier his opinion was taken only for SC appointments and transfer of HC judges.
Last year, in a missive shot off to then CJI TS Thakur, he demanded that the minutes of the meetings be recorded. Reasons for both — approving or rejecting a candidate — should be noted in the minutes, he insisted.
The logjam brewed at a time when the spat between government and judiciary escalated, with CJI Thakur blaming the government over HC vacancies in public.
In the absence of Justice Chelameshar, the other members of the collegium comprising CJI JS Khehar, Justices Dipak Misra, Ranjan Gogoi and Madan B Lokur reportedly met and discussed some names.
A list of the candidates which includes the names of Madras high court chief justice (CJ) Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Bombay HC CJ Manjula Chellur, Himachal Pradesh HC CJ Ahmed Mir, Chhattisgarh HC CJ Deepak Gupta and J&K HC CJ NNP Vasanthakumar, has been sent to Justice Chelameswar for his comments.