New Delhi: The Union Law Ministry has sent a communication to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra to recommend the name of his successor so that it could commence the process of appointment at least three weeks before he demits office in October.
Normally the recommendation is sent a month before the CJI demits office. According to highly placed sources, CJI Misra is expected to send his recommendation early next week and the government is likely to accept it.
There was speculation in the judiciary and the government whether Justice Ranjan Gogoi who spearheaded a revolt by holding a press conference on January 12 along with his three companion judges, J Chelameswar (who has since retired), Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph would made the next CJI.
It is in this context the Law Ministry has written to CJI Misra to make his recommendation at the earliest.
Under the Memorandum of Procedure evolved under the collegium system, it is customary and a convention for the outgoing CJI to name the senior most judge as his successor. There have been two attempts earlier to bypass the convention or “supersede” judges, after Independence.
The first “supersession” was in 1973 involving three judges. The then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi appointed Justice A N as the CJI overlooking the three senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, Justices J M Shelat, A N Grover and K S Hegde.
The second and possibly most infamous super session, happened during the height of the Emergency, when Indira Gandhi disapproved the dissenting judgment of Justice H R Khanna and Justice M H Beg was appointed as the CJI.
Following the Constitution Bench striking down the National Judicial Appointments Commission law as unconstitutional, the collegium system has been revived.
The NJAC (National Judicial Appointments Commission) law did not envisage that the senior most judge would be appointed as the Chief Justice of India.
The Centre had made it clear that seniority will be one of the criterion and other eligibility conditions will be formulated by the government while framing the rules and regulations governing. However, with the revival of the collegium, it is customary and obligatory for the outgoing CJI to recommend his immediate senior, viz Justice Ranjan Gogoi....