Collegium decision is ‘earth-shaking’, says Ex-Delhi HC judge

Legal News, Nation, (New Delhi), January 16:-Retired Delhi High Court Judge Justice Kailash Gambhir on Wednesday questioned the decision of the Collegium to elevate two Delhi High Court judges by superseding three seniors, terming it as an “earth-shaking” move which will send “wrong signal”.

Gambhir said in all 32 judges have been superseded across the country and that Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi should “explain” this.

On January 10, the Collegium had decided to elevate Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna to the Supreme Court.

While recommending the names of Justices Maheshwari and Khanna, the Collegium had said the decision was taken keeping in mind the combined seniority on an all-India basis of Chief Justices and senior puisne judges of High Courts, apart from their merit and integrity.

“(I) don’t know what happened to the Collegium. They took a decision on December 12 and now post- vacation the decision was changed. It was an earth-shaking decision,” Justice Gambhir said.

The retired Delhi High Court judge, who has already written to President Ram Nath Kovind to express his reservation to the Collegium’s decision, said the January 10 recommendation was made by undermining seniority.

“Both judges are very meritorious. But it is a question of ignoring the seniority of judges. Why this fourth judge is picked up? These reasons are not understandable. Only Collegium will explain,” he said.

The retired high court judge was of the view that the decision taken by the Collegium will definitely send a “wrong signal”. “There should be more transparency,” he noted.

“The Supreme Court judges, including Chief Justice Gogoi, had come out in the media last year (when they addressed an unprecedented press conference against the then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra). At that time, it was about the selection of cases. Now it’s a question of selecting judges, it’s a fundamental question,” Justice Gambhir said.

“Why pick a person who is at number 4 in the Delhi High Court? If you think number four is meritorious, then number 10 may be more meritorious,” he said.

“There has to be institutional credibility in the issue. Justice Gogoi had said after becoming the CJI, I have some good plans. Is this his plan, to elevate number four to the Supreme Court? This CJI has to explain. Seniority and merits should be respected in the case,” he added.

Gambhir’s remarks came a day after he wrote to the President, terming the Collegium’s decision as a “historical blunder” and pleading with him to ensure “independence and trust” in the judiciary by preventing the decision to materialise.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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