New Delhi: The apex court has rejected the reservations of the government on the elevation of two judges to the top court.
Stating seniority should come before merit, the government had asked the Supreme Court Collegium -- the apex court body that decides promotions – to reconsider its decision to appoint Justices Aniruddha Bose and A S Bopanna to the top court.
But the apex court stuck to its stance that merit should come before seniority and observed: “The government has stated nothing adverse regarding competence, conduct or integrity of the judges. Merit should be put above seniority in the appointment”.
Aniruddha Bose is the Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court and A S Bopanna is Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court.
The SC Collegium comprises five senior-most judges. The present Collegium includes Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justice S A Bobade, Justice N V Ramana, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice R F Nariman.
It was reported that the government had asked the Collegium to reconsider the names citing regional representation and seniority.
“The Collegium is of the view that, as laid down by the Supreme Court, though seniority amongst judges in their High Courts and their combined seniority on all-India basis should be given due weightage, merit should be the predominant consideration," the judges said.
Along with these two names, the apex court has recommended Justice B R Gavai and Justice Surya Kant for the top court. Justice Gavai is a judge of the Bombay High Court and Justice Surya Kant is the Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court.
Justice Gavai’s appointment would bring a Scheduled Caste judge back in the Supreme Court. Previously, Justice (retd.) K G Balakrishnan was the first scheduled caste judge to become the Chief Justice of India. He held the post from January 2007 to may 2010.
The Supreme Court, with 27 sitting judges, has a sanctioned strength of 31 judges....