No consensus could be reached during the 75-minute Supreme Court collegium meetingNo consensus could be reached during the 75-minute Supreme Court collegium meeting
No consensus could be reached during the 75-minute Supreme Court collegium meeting
In an unusual occurrence, a 75-minute Collegium meeting on Tuesday involving CJI N V Ramana and Justices U U Lalit, D Y Chandrachud, Sanjay K Kaul, and S Abdul Nazeer failed to reach agreement on filling three vacancies in the Supreme Court or appointing or transferring HC Chief Justices, reports TOI.
Because there had been no prior notification that courts 1–5 would not be sitting at 10.30 a.m. due to a Collegium meeting, waiting lawyers speculated as to why the meeting was taking so long. The Collegium meetings, which are usually held after a prior discussion among judges, are usually over in 10 to 15 minutes.
The meeting was tense because the law ministry had delayed writing to CJI Ramana to seek recommendation of Justice Lalit’s name as the next CJI.
Traditionally, the ministry writes the letter a month before the incumbent CJI’s retirement, and the CJI sends the recommendation to the ministry 30 days before his retirement.
The collegium also discussed the names of certain HC chief justices for elevation to the SC to fill the three vacancies created by the retirements of Justices Vineet Saran, L N Rao, and A M Khanwilkar.
CJI Ramana, who retires on August 26, also brought the vacancies for Chief Justices of High Courts before the Collegium. There was a stalemate over the selection of HC judges for those posts, as well as the issue of transferring incumbent CJs from one HC to another, due to the diverse views expressed by members.
The Collegium is expected to meet again on Wednesday to try to break the deadlock over selection issues, which was clouded on Tuesday by an unrelated development – the law ministry’s delay in seeking the CJI’s recommendation for his successor.
Justice Lalit will be sworn in as the 49th Chief Justice of India on August 27 and will serve for only 74 days. As Chief Justice, Justice Lalit would preside over a Collegium that included Justices Chandrachud, Kaul, Nazeer, and Indira Banerjee. With the retirement of Justice Banerjee on September 23, Justice K M Joseph will join the Collegium.
On November 8, Justice Lalit will step down as Chief Justice of India. According to the convention, he must write to the government on October 8 recommending Justice Chandrachud as the 50th CJI.
Whatever vacancies and transfers are to be filled during Justice Lalit’s tenure as CJI, they must be completed within 42 days, between August 27 and October 7.