Judges’ presser was disturbing: Next CJI Bobde

At the unprecedented January 2018 press conference, justices J Chelameshwar,Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan Lokur aired their grievances over then-CJI Misra’s style of functioning. He
Principal Secretary to Prime Minister PK Mishra presents the warrant of appointment to Chief Justice of India-designate Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde in New Delhi.(PTI)
Principal Secretary to Prime Minister PK Mishra presents the warrant of appointment to Chief Justice of India-designate Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde in New Delhi.(PTI)
Updated on Oct 31, 2019 07:06 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde, who takes over as the next Chief Justice of India (CJI) in a little over two weeks, has described the January 12, 2018, press conference by the four senior-most judges at the time against then CJI Dipak Misra as a “disturbing event” for the judiciary.

In an interview with HT, the CJI-designate, who will take over a day after current chief justice Ranjan Gogoi retires on November 17, said matters had improved since last year and the relationship between judges was much better than before.

“Relations were very poor earlier, now we have more informal get-togethers and communication is open between the judges,” justice Bobde said.

At the unprecedented January 2018 press conference, justices J Chelameshwar,Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan Lokur aired their grievances over then-CJI Misra’s style of functioning. He was assigning important cases to junior judges, they said, adding that the alleged lack of transparency in the selection of judges to try cases was a cause of “serious concern”. All except Gogoi have now retired.

On the appointment and elevation of judges, Justice Bobde said a decision has been taken that the Supreme Court collegium will not disclose reasons for the suitability or non-suitability of candidates as judges of the high courts and the Supreme Court.

In 2018, then CJI Misra, along with other collegium members, for the first time introduced a system wherein the judges cited reasons in their resolutions for elevating or rejecting candidacy of advocates and judges for elevation.

“I agree there should be transparency in appointments but I also believe that protection of a person’s reputation is also important. We don’t complain why someone is not inducted in the cabinet, as reasons for non-inductions are not crucial. Similarly, in the army, do you say that why so and so has not been made a general? I don’t think withholding such things amount to secrecy, it’s primacy, “ said justice Bobde.

Defending the time taken in the appointment of judges, he agreed that the process was long-drawn, but said there was a reason for it. A lot of inputs are taken into account while appointing a judge, he said, adding that the information is processed at the high court collegium level, then at the Supreme Court level, and sometimes even independent information is taken into consideration.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Bhadra is a legal correspondent and reports Supreme Court proceedings, besides writing on legal issues. A law graduate, Bhadra has extensively covered trial of high-profile criminal cases. She has had a short stint as a crime reporter too.

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