Supreme Court collegium halts proceedings on naming next CJI

New Delhi : As the Central Government sought the name of the next chief from Chief Justice UU Lalit, the Supreme Court Collegium would not take any action after two judges raised objections in its September 30 meeting.

The tenure of CJI Lalit ends on November 8. As per norms, CJI recommends the name of the second senior most judge to the government a month before retirement.

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The Central Government sent a letter on October 7, asking the CJI to recommend his successor. At present, Justice DY Chandrachud is the second senior-most judge. If he becomes the Chief Justice, his tenure will be more than two years.

In fact, two members of the collegium, Justice Chandrachud and Justice S Abdul Nazeer, had objected to the letter circulated by the Chief Justice regarding proposals to appoint Supreme Court judges. A formal meeting of the collegium was held on September 26, in which the names of 11 judges were considered. All the names and their qualifications were discussed in this meeting.

After the consensus was reached on the name of Chief Justice of Bombay High Court Dipankar Dutta, the proposal to recommend to the Centre for making him the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was agreed. It was decided to convene a meeting of the collegium on September 30, to consider the remaining names. The collegium members sought a list of judicial decisions taken by the rest of the candidates for appointment as judges.

After this, Justice DY Chandrachud could not attend the meeting of the collegium on September 30 as he kept hearing in the court till 9 pm. As a result, no resolution could be passed in this meeting. Thereafter, the judicial decisions and resolutions made by the rest of the candidates were circulated to all the members of the collegium. Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, member of the collegium, on October 1 and Justice KM Joseph, on October 7, gave their assent to the motion through a letter.

On this, Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice S Abdul Nazeer objected to the manner in which the resolution was passed through separate letters. However, Justice Chandrachud and Justice Nazir did not express their views on the motion. After that the Chief Justice wrote a letter on October 2, asking for alternative suggestions but did not get any reply.

On October 7, the union Law Minister wrote a letter to the CJI, seeking the name of the next chief. In view of the letter of the Law Minister, the Collegium met on October 9, and stopped all proceedings on the incomplete meeting held on September 30.

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