9 December 2022

New Delhi : CJIUU Lalit – led collegium is unlikely to recommend any name to the Union government for filling four vacant Supreme Court judge posts as two members of the five – member judge selection body have opposed the CJI’S attempt to seek approval of four names by circulating a written proposal .

Justice Lalit , who had cited ‘ less than one month from retirement ‘ rule to prevent his predecessor Justice NV Ramana from getting collegium nod for filling two vacant posts of SC judges , stares at the same rule impeding him from recommending any name .

CJI Lalit - Led Collegium Unlikely
CJI Lalit – Led Collegium Unlikely

Applying the same rule , CJI Lalit would be disabled from holding collegium meetings after October 8 , as he re tires on November 8 , to deliberate and reach consensus on names for recom mending to the government for filling the vacancies in SC .

Coincidentally , the apex court reopens only on October 10 , the earliest when collegium could meet and by which time the ‘ less than one month ‘ rule would kick in .

Apart from this , the CJI’s endeavour to get the four names three sitting HC chief justices and a senior advocate practising in SC – clear ed through circulation among other four members of the collegium , Justices DY Chandrachud , Sanjay Kishan Kaul , S Abdul Nazir and KM Joseph , has met with strong resistance from two members .

In reply to the CJI’s letter proposing the four names , two judges of the collegium have decried in writing the at tempt , saying ” appointment to the high constitutional office and as judges of the highest court should never be done through circulation ” and have desired that deliberations for reaching consensus should be the one and only process for filling vacancies in SC .

After the collegium meeting was aborted on September 29 because of a heavy list of cases before one judge , who sat till 9.15pm to complete hearing on the matters , the CJI on September 30 sent a written proposal to collegium members seeking approval for filling four vacant posts in the apex court .

During the collegium meeting last week , the members had discussed 11 names . On Thursday , the CJI had later sent 103 judgements penned by them to the collegium members to evaluate their judicial acumen . Most members could not go through the huge number of judgements given the heavy workload of reading the large number of cases that were listed before them on Friday .

Moreover , some of the collegium members also expressed reservations against elevating a senior advocate at this juncture when as many as 11 HCs are unrepresented in the SC .

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