In a resolution passed on 21.03.2023, the Supreme Court collegium headed by Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud C.J., Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K.M. Joseph J.J., recommended the appointment of 4 District Judges for appointment as Judges of Madras High Court. The recommended Judges are namely:
(i) Shri R Sakthivel,
(ii) Shri P Dhanabal,
(iii) Shri Chinnasamy Kumarappan,
(iv) Shri K Rajasekar
The said recommendation was made on 10-08-2023 with the concurrence of the Chief Minister and the Governor of Tamil Nadu.
“In order to ascertain the fitness and suitability of the above-named judicial officers for elevation to the High Court, in terms of the Memorandum of Procedure, this Collegium has consulted the Judges of the Supreme Court conversant with the affairs of the Madras High Court.” stated the Resolution.
Referring to the previous recommendation dated 17-01-2023, the Collegium had recommended the appointment of Shri Ramaswamy Neelakandan, Advocate practicing before the Madras High Court as a Judge of the High Court. It was stated that he should be appointed before the appointment of Shri Rajasekar, otherwise Shri Rajasekar, who is younger than Shri Neelakandan, would rank senior to him.
Such a deviation in seniority would be unfair and against the settled convention. Hence, while recommending the name of Shri K Rajasekar for elevation, the Collegium is of the view that his appointment should be notified after the appointment of Shri Ramaswamy Neelakandan is notified.
The Collegium was also of the considered view that necessary action for the issuance of a notification for the elevation of persons who have been recommended earlier in point of time should be taken at the earliest including Shri R John Sathyan who had been reiterated on 17-01-2023.
“The names which have been recommended earlier in point of time including the reiterated names ought not to be withheld or overlooked as this disturbs their seniority whereas those recommended later steal march on them. Loss of seniority of candidates recommended earlier in point of time has been noted by the Collegium and is a matter of grave concern.”
The collegium further recommended Shri Harpreet Singh Brar, Senior Advocate as a Judge in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana.
The said recommendation was made on 10-03-2022 which was approved by the Collegium on 25-07-2022.
The Department of Justice flagged certain issues and referred back the recommendation on 25-11-2022 for reconsideration by this Collegium.
Resolution dated 15-02-2023 sought the views of the Collegium of the High Court.
On 16-02-2023, the Chief Justice of India addressed a communication to the Chief Justice of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana seeking the inputs of the High Court Collegium on the issues flagged by the Department of Justice.
The High Court Collegium had held a meeting dated 23-02-2023 3 to reconsider the recommendation.
The High Court after elaborately dealing with each of the issued flagged by the Department of Justice stated that “Upon careful evaluation of the matters which have been noted by the Department of Justice, the High Court Collegium which has been constituted afresh with a new member has arrived at the unanimous view that there was no reason to take a view different from the one taken earlier and has reiterated the recommendation for the elevation of Shri Harpreet Singh Brar.”
The Collegium had also obtained the opinion of 2 consultee-judges of the Supreme Court before reiterating the recommendation.