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Sanjay Kishan Kaul objects to bypassing seniors in SC selection

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul had first raised concerns when Justice Nandrajog was overlooked.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Sep 03, 2019, 11.19 PM IST
NEW DELHI: Senior Supreme Court Judge Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul has while giving a positive appraisal on Justice Ravindra Bhat’s elevation to the apex court, also reaffirmed his reservations to CJI Ranjan Gogoi over bypassing other senior eligible judges. Justice Kaul, in a letter dated August 29, wrote to the CJI that Justice Bhat was a “fine mind” and “eminently suitable” for the SC. “However, my views on the larger issue remain the same as contained in my letter dated January 11, 2019,” he reiterated.

The letter Justice Kaul has mentioned relates to the time when Justice Sanjiv Khanna was appointed to the Supreme Court. He had then recorded his disagreement at the supersession of senior judges, especially Justice Pradeep Nandrajog, Chief Justice Bombay HC.

"As per seniority, it was the turn of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog to be considered for elevation. He is a judge of high integrity who has done enormous judicial and administrative work in both quality and quantity and was thus eminently suitable for appointment” he wrote in the letter dated January 11.

At that time, he had also mentioned the names of Justices Gita Mittal and Ravindra Bhat along with that of Justice Nandrajog as seniors who had been sidestepped.

On August 28, however, the SC Collegium recommended Justice Bhat’s name, along with three others, to be appointed as a Judge in the SC. He is currently Chief Justice of Rajasthan HC and was appointed as Judge of the Delhi HC in July 2004.

Justice Nandrajog was elevated as high court judge in 2002 and was appointed Chief Justice of Bombay High Court this year.

Meanwhile, the Collegium resolution recommending Bhat to SC stated: “ It (Collegium) is conscious of the fact that.…on his appointment, there will be three Judges on the Bench of the Supreme Court from the Delhi High Court, which has the special status of being the High Court of the national capital, according to the Collegium resolution.”

In December last year, sources said, the SC Collegium had held a positive discussion on Nandrajog but details were not known as no resolution was made public.

It was widely speculated that the collegium had cleared Nandrajog’s name but when it reconvened in January, one of the collegium members had retired. A reconstituted collegium recommended Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna to the SC instead.

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