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In yet another unprecedented move by Justice J Chelameswar, the soon to retire Supreme Court judge has declined to attend his farewell function to be organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) citing personal reasons. According to reports, when approached by SCBA, Justice J Chelameswar said that he was not comfortable with such events, and that he did not want a farewell function even when he was transferred from the Andhra Pradesh High Court. The members of SCBA said that they will again meet Justice Chelameswar to persuade him. They, however, expressed reservations whether they will be able to do so.

It is not the first time when Justice Chelameswar has hit the headlines. He has more often than not been in the news for his unprecedented moves. In January this year, for the first time, the nation witnessed a press conference held by the senior most sitting judges of the Supreme Court highlighting the issue of allotment of cases by CJI Dipak Misra. Justice J Chelameswar, leading the press conference that also included Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Kurian Jospeh, said:

“All four of us are convinced that unless this institution is preserved and it maintains its equanimity, democracy will survive in this country, or any country.”

It is important to note that the said allotment of cases issue, famously known as the ‘Master of Roster’ issue is still doing rounds with Opposition filing impeachment motion against CJI Dipak Misra.

Later, in March, Justice Chelameswar agin wrote a letter to CJI Dipak Misra, highlighting the ‘Executive encroachment’ in the judicial matters. In the letter, he highlighted the issue of ‘executive bidding’ by Justice Dinesh Maheswari, the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court for the elevation of Krishna Bhat, a District & Sessions Judge.

Justice J Chelameswar, who is due to retire on June 22nd, will serve as the senior most Supreme Court judge for one last time on May 18th, the last working day before the Court breaks for summer vacation.

(With inputs from News18)

Hot Off The PressNews

Reports suggest that Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has written to a letter to CJI Dipak Misra, asking the collegium to reconsider Uttarakhand High Court’s Chief Justice KM Joseph’s name for elevation to the Supreme Court. The Law ministry says:

“it would not be appropriate, at this stage, to elevate Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph to the Supreme Court.”

The letter states that Justice KM Joseph is placed at number 42 in the All India High Court Judges’ Seniority list and there are presently 11 Chief Justices of various High Courts who are senior to him.

On 10.01.2018, the Supreme Court collegium, comprising of the five senior-most judges, had recommended the names of Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph and Indu Malhotra for elevation to the Supreme Court. While the Centre has cleared Indu Malhotra’s name, it has rejected the collegium’s recommendation regarding Justice KM Joseph.

While the appointment of Indu Malhotra has been applauded, many Senior members of the Bar have urged CJI Dipak Misra to block her appointment till Justice KM Joseph’s name is cleared. Senior Advocate Indira Jaising took to twitter to show her dismay over non-clearance of Justice Jospeh’s name. She tweeted:

“I appeal to the Chief Justice of India not to swear in Indu Malhotra until Justice Joseph is cleared for appointment , independence of the Judiciary must be saved at all cost.”

In another tweet, she said that if Indu Malhotra is sweared in as the Supreme Court judge, it will be illegal:

“As of now there is no collegium decision to appoint Indu Malhotra alone , hence a judge is about to be sworn in illegally , another collegium decision needed to swear her in alone to legalise her appointment , will the Chief Justice stand for independence of the judiciary please.”

Advocate Vikas Singh, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, welcomed Indu Malhotra’s appointment, calling her a fine lawyer & a promising judge. However, on Centre’s silence on Justice KM Joseph, he said:

“I have huge reservation at the attitude of the government, there is no way by which they should not have cleared Justice KM Joseph’s name. By making one appointment and not making another, the government has interfered in functioning of the judiciary. This is a very serious matter and should be taken up with the government very strongly.”

As per the latest reports, Supreme Court has refused to give an urgent hearing to a mentioning by a group of Supreme Court Bar Association lawyers, with 100 signatures, seeking a stay on Senior Advocate Indu Malhotra’s appointment as Supreme Court judge in light of Centre’s decision to reject Justice KM Joseph’s elevation. The SCBA resolution states:

“While we stand for nomination of Ms. Indu Malhotra, Senior Advocate and one of our distinguished members, we express our deep anguish for non-inclusion of Justice KM Joseph and selective processing of files contrary to the recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium. We strongly condemn the selective approach of the Executive and call upon the Hon’ble Supreme Court to take appropriate steps to restore independence of the judiciary. “

(Source: ANI)

Amendments to existing laws

Supreme Court Bar Association on 19th August, 2014 issued a circular with regard to the objections on representation on ‘The Supreme Court Rules-2013’. This circular is in addition to the earlier notification dated 14.08.2014 of Hon’ble CJI, whereby explanation (b)&(c) Rule 10, Order IV Supreme Court Rules-2013, on misconduct, was directed not to come into force until further orders, accepting the first request of SCBA. The following suggestions of the Office Bearers of SCBA are accepted by Hon’ble CJI:

  • Representation dated 13.08.2014 of SCBA has already been referred to the Rule Committee along with a request to consider the same objectively and comprehensively, in consultation with the SCBA. Therefore, issues raised by the SCBA, specifically with regard to violation of Sections 29 and 30 of the Advocates Act 1961, will be considered by the Rule Committee only.
  • The maximum cap of two lawyers in Form 30 of Fourth Schedule of Supreme Court Rules will be put in abeyance and the appearances of all lawyers, who are actually present, will be shown in the order sheet.
  • With regard to the court fees, excess court fee will be refunded in case the Rule Committee accepts the suggestions of SCBA.
  • Standard paper prescribed in Order XV Rule 11, will be changed back to being optional for A4 and legal size paper as before, instead of only A4 in New Rules.
To read the Circular, click here