The Bar Council of India on Thursday asked the Chief Justice of India (CJI) to make public the reasons why three senior-most high court chief justices were denied promotion as Supreme Court judges.
The Bar said the CJI should come forward and clear the confusion, “which could demoralise higher judiciary in the country”. Its chairman Suraj Narain Prasad Sinha said, “The latest recommendations of the collegium raise serious doubts on the procedure for judges’ appointments. There is no way the discredited collegium system can be defended. The least that can be done is to make public the reasons why senior judges were superseded.”
As reported by HT on Monday, the collegium had cleared the names of the chief justices of the Madras, Patna and Kerala High Courts — Justices AK Ganguly, RM Lodha and HL Dattu — for elevation to the Supreme Court. This was done despite the fact that the three were junior to the chief justices of the Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand High Courts — Justices AP Shah, AK Patnaik and VK Gupta.
A copy of the collegium recommendations accessed by HT gave no reasons for denying elevation to the senior judges.
The Bar has asked CJI KG Balakrishnan to review the collegium’s decision. “It has proved there is no transparency in the collegium system. It smacks of nepotism and it is high time this system is scrapped. The CJI should show courage to review such a decision,” Sinha said. He said it was time the government converted its words into action. “The law minister has said the government would review the judges’ appointment procedure. It should be done without further delay.”
The ministry is expected to send the file to the President for final approval, after checking the records of the judges whose names have been recommended.