‘Prevent black day’: Ex-HC judge writes to President over SC collegium picks
Justice Maheshwari hit headlines last year when now retired judge of the Supreme Court, justice J Chelameswar, criticised him for initiating an enquiry against a judge recommended twice by the Supreme Court collegium for elevation to the high court — without informing the collegium of the same.Updated: Jan 16, 2019 00:05 IST
Former judge of the Delhi high court justice Kailash Gambhir on Tuesday wrote to the President of India terming the recent decision of the Supreme Court collegium recommending elevation of Karnataka high court Chief Justice Dinesh Maheswari and Delhi high court judge Sanjeev Khanna as judges to the Supreme Court, a “black day” for the Indian judiciary and requested the President to review the recommendations and not “let another historical blunder be committed.”
In his letter, the retired judge wrote: “The news has sent shockwaves to the entire legal and judicial fraternity. This is appalling and outrageous that such a earth-shattering decision has been taken to supersede as many as 32 judges which include many chief justices, casting aspersion on their intellect, merit and integrity.”
On January 10, the top court collegium of five judges passed a resolution recommending names of justice Maheshwari and justice Khanna saying: “The Collegium is of the considered view that at present the following persons are more deserving and suitable in all respects than other Chief Justices and senior puisne Judges of High Courts, for being appointed as Judges of the Supreme Court”.
The recommendations created a flutter in the legal fraternity as the name of justice Dinesh Maheshwari was overlooked recently for elevation and justice Sanjeev Khanna is junior to many sitting Chief Justices and puisne judges of the high courts.
Objecting to the elevation of justice Maheshwari, Gambhir said: “It cannot be forgotten that just one-and-a-half months back the then collegium’s members superseded Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and now, out of the blue, he becomes more deserving and suitable in such a short gap”.
Justice Maheshwari hit headlines last year when now retired judge of the Supreme Court, justice J Chelameswar, criticised him for initiating an enquiry against a judge recommended twice by the Supreme Court collegium for elevation to the high court — without informing the collegium of the same.
On the elevation of justice Khanna, Gambhir wrote: “We all know that Justice Sanjeev Khanna, son of late Justice D R Khanna also happens to be the nephew of the highly respected man in the legal world, late Justice H R Khanna. The talk in legal corridors is that the elevation of Justice Sanjeev Khanna is with a view to pay respect to the legacy left behind by his great uncle….and the courageous stand taken by him in Habeas Corpus case.” His reference is to the 1976 case (during the Emergency) when Khanna was the only dissenting opinion in a judgment by five judges, and upheld that fundamental rights could not be abrogated by the executive during Emergency. For his pains, he was superseded for the post of Chief Justice of India in 1977.
“It will be another black day when there will be supersession of 32 judges who are senior to justice Sanjeev Khanna and many of them may not be less meritorious and men of intergrity than him. The legacy that we all are so proud of and which the collegium so scrupulously wants to preserve will become nothing but an unfortunate irony,” justice Gambhir added in his letter.