New Delhi: Justice Jasti Chelameswar, the second most senior judge in the Supreme Court, has retired on Friday. Talking to The Indian Express Justice Chelameswar said he hoped that Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court, Justice K M Joseph, will be elevated to the Supreme Court.
Justice Chelameswar, who was part of the collegium which recommended Justice Joseph’s name and reiterated his name when the government returned it in April, told The Indian Express: “It is unfortunate that the matter is still lingering. I believe a man like him should come to the Supreme Court and it will be good for the institution. I still hope that it will happen.”
Justice Chelameswar has spent almost 21 years as a judge, out of which six-and-a-half years he was a judge in the Supreme Court.
Justice Chelameswar also said that he believes that there is a lot of speculation about the selection of the next Chief Justice of India, but does not think that Justice Ranjan Gogoi, next in line to succeed CJI Dipak Misra in October, will be overtaking.
“They are all speculations. I don’t think supersession will happen,” Justice Chelameswar told The Indian Express as he left for his ancestral village in Andhra Pradesh.
When asked if he would be writing some kind of a book or will join some government job, Justice Chelameswar said, “I am not entering electoral politics. I won’t be contesting elections. Politics in a theoretical sense, watching it, commenting on it, yes I will be interested in it.”
He said he planned to write two books on legal and Constitutional matters.
When asked the reason for the unprecedented press conference on January 12 along with three other members of his collegium - Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph - making a letter written to CJI Dipak Misra in November public, Justice Chelameswar said, "I believe that without an independent judiciary, no democracy can survive. When we held the press conference, we believed that there is a threat to the independence of the judiciary and we thought that one way is to keep the nation informed. I acted according to the dictates of my conscience. It is for the civil society and future generations to decide whether I was right in my belief and action."
He asserted that he did "not find anything wrong with the press conference."
Talking to NDTV, Justice Chelameswar said: "When they wrote (the letter to the CJI) in November there was no response, what is the further resolution? Is it to advise sitting outside the court? Don't make comment, I am not going to ask you who made that comment. We are not children. We are not looking for some publicity or limelight or holding a press conference. We are responsible people, we are normal people and then what makes you people believe that we didn't make any effort to get that thing resolved before that?"
Asked how he would like his tenure in the Supreme Court to be remembered, Justice Chelameswar told The Indian Express said: “It gave me an opportunity to deal with momentous issues. For example, the NJAC (National Judicial Appointments Commission). Leave alone the result and the political logic behind it. Of about 250 judges who occupied this court, how many of them got an opportunity to adjudicate upon the Constitutional validity of a Constitutional amendment? Not even 50, in the last 70 years. I got this big opportunity.”...