The Bar Council of India (BCI) has decided to request the Supreme Court collegium to recall its recommendation to elevate Justice Sanjiv Khanna to the Supreme Court, ignoring the seniority of several other judges and chief justices of the country.
“We have no grievance against Mr. Justice Sanjiv Khanna. But he can wait for his turn; there is no hurry to elevate him ignoring the merit and seniority of several Chief Justices and puisne Judges of the country,” it states, requesting the collegium and the government to “not encourage” such supersession.
The BCI also takes objection to the revoking of the Collegium’s decision taken in December last year to recommend elevation of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog, Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court, and Justice Rajendra Menon, Chief Justice of Delhi High Court instead. It calls the revocation “whimsical and arbitrary”.
“They are men of integrity and judicial competence; No body can raise finger against these Judges on any ground. The decision of 10th January, 2019 will certainly lead to humiliation and demoralisation of such judges and also of several other deserving senior Judges and Chief Justices of High Courts,” the release states.
BCI asserts that the two decisions have garnered strong resentment from the bar and have led to an erosion of people’s faith in the collegium system. It also claims that several State Bar Councils, High Courts and Bar Associations have written to it, calling for it to raise the issue and take it up with the government and collegium judges.
It adds that BCI shall, if required, convene a joint meeting of representatives of all State Bar Councils, High Court Bar Associations and other such associations in the country, in order to discuss the issue and decide on the future course of action.
The release ends with the BCI taking credit for successfully resolving the crisis that had led to the unprecedented press conference organised by four senior Supreme Court judges, a year ago.
Former Delhi High Court judge and Senior Advocate Kailash Gambhir had also recently written to the President of India, questioning the Collegium’s recommendation to elevate Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dinesh Maheshwari to the Supreme Court.