Supreme Court collegium waived rider to transfer judge

Team SoOLEGAL 3 Oct 2017 12:15pm

Supreme Court collegium waived rider to transfer judge

The Supreme Court collegium's recent decision to transfer a Karnataka high court judge, which led to his resignation, wasn't its only controversial transfer recommendation.
The collegium led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra has transferred five judges, including Justice Jayant Patel, who put in his papers in protest.

While Justice Patel's second transfer was against his consent, the collegium, also comprising Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur and Kurien Joseph, allowed the request of another HC judge to return to his parent cadre, Andhra Pradesh, waiving a condition attached to his elevation in 2013.

Justice D S Naidu was appointed as an HC judge in 2013, but with the rider that he would be posted outside the Andhra Pradesh HC. A couple of years after he joined the 
Kerala HC, he sent in a request to be sent to Andhra, but the collegium didn't take a decision last year when it first considered it.

Sources said that in 2012-13, the collegiums led by CJIs Altamas Kabir and P Sathasivam obtained an undertaking from Naidu, then a lawyer, that he was willing to be posted in three HCs other than Andhra's. It had emerged that Naidu had professional links with the advocate son of Justice Chelameswar, and was related by marriage to Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu.

At the time, sources said, Naidu's candidature faced resistance not just from members of the collegium, but also from the government, which returned his name after the 
SC recommended it.

The government had cited objections to Naidu's name by Justice A R Dave, and asked the SC to reconsider. But the collegium stuck to its stand, pointing out that nowhere did the in-house objection suggest anything remotely adverse about the candidate's integrity. It maintained that, at best, Justice Dave's objections were his "subjective views".

It reiterated the recommendation but went by the opinion given by one of its members, Justice G S Singhvi, and made the appointment conditional on Naidu agreeing to be posted outside the Andhra HC.

It asked him to give "unconditional consent" to the choice of three HCs instead of just the Madras HC, as he had initially indicated. It was only after Naidu consented to be posted anwhere among the HCs of Kerala, Karnataka and Madras that the collegium cleared his name and recommended it to the government for appointment.

Interestingly, even after adding a rider to the recommendation, the justice department sent a note seeking reconsideration and underlined certain observations by Justices Dave and Singhvi.

The collegium took a dim view of the second note, and the then CJI P Sathasivam recorded how "it is for the first time that a recommendation approved by the SC collegium has been referred back to it for a second time for reconsideration despite the same having been reiterated on an earlier occasion".

The top judges reminded the government that it was violating the memorandum of procedure (MoP) developed by the SC through its judgment in the 1993 judges case. It found no justification in the government's refusal, pointing out that even Justice Singhvi found nothing adverse about Naidu's integrity.

It directed the government to immediately clear the appointment so that he could join the Kerala HC.

Source: Timesofindia 


Tagged: Justice Jayant Patel   Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra   Karnataka high court judge   Supreme Court  
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