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In A First, Supreme Court Collegium Puts On Record Reasons To Reject Centre's Objections To Proposals

20 Jan 2023 5:17 AM GMT
In A First, Supreme Court Collegium Puts On Record Reasons To Reject Centres Objections To Proposals

In a first, the Supreme Court collegium has put on record the reasons to reject the objections raised by the Central Government to recommendations made regarding judges appointment.

The Supreme Court collegium reiterated the names of 5 advocates for elevation to various High Courts. They are Saurabh Kirpal (Delhi High Court), Somasekaran Sundaresan (Bombay High Court), John Sathyan (Madras High Court), Amitesh Banerjee & Sakya Sen(for Calcutta High Courts).

While reiterating these names, the collegium comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph gave express reasons for discarding the objections raised by the Law Ministry. What is significant in the move is that the Collegium has also published these statements with the reasons, which is unprecedented.

Also, the Collegium has asked the Centre to process the reiterated files "expeditiously".

Here is a gist of the collegium statements.

Saurabh Kirpal- Proposal for elevation as Delhi HC Judge

Centre's objection : He is gay, he could be biased due to his open support for gay rights; His partner is a Swiss national

Collegium response : Unconstitutional to reject candidature on ground of sexual orientation. There is no reason to pre-suppose that the partner of the candidate, who is a Swiss National, would be inimically disposed to our country, since the country of his origin is a friendly nation. Many persons holding high offices have foreign partners. Inclusion of Kirpal in the judiciary will add diversity to the bench. He possesses competence, integrity and intellect.

Somasekhar Sundaresan - Proposal for elevation as Bombay HC judge

Centre's objection - Expressed views on pending issues, highly opinionated and selectively critical on social media

Collegium response : All citizens have the right to free speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. Expression of views by a candidate does not disentitle him to hold a constitutional office so long as the person proposed for judgeship is a person of competence, merit and integrity.

John Sathyan- Proposal for elevation as Madras HC judge

Centre's objection : Shared an article criticising PM Modi; and another post regarding the suicide of a NEET aspirant, portraying it as a killing by ‘political betrayal’ and a tag stating ‘shame of you India’ .

Collegium response : Sharing an article criticising the PM and NEET will not affect his suitability. He has good professional and personal image.

Notably, to ensure the seniority of John Satyam, the Collegium further recommended that he be given precedence over the other names separately recommended on January 17.

Amitesh Banerjee & Sakya Sen : Elevation as Calcutta HC judges

Collegium statement says the same objections- which were earlier rejected by collegium- were repeated by the Centre. The Collegium categorically said that Centre cannot repeatedly return proposals with the same objections which were earlier considered by Collegium.

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